I give thanks for the rain that has gently fallen on the Valley this morning while I attempt to dance my heart open.
I will be taking a blog break for the rest of July and all of August to step outside the timeline unfolding in FW2W. Thank you other bloggers who have allowed me to repost your work here in the past weeks.The deep feelings touched off by the relentless recent murders bring remembrance and reflection on Northampton’s history that I will need time to fully experience and attempt to put into coherent form as some more urgent work gets done.
One image that has risen in my memory’s eye is that of the first census of Northampton, ordered by the King of England, a handwritten list that numbers, but does not name, the slaves who were owned here. From the very beginning of the town. And I recall a line out of the town’s first history describing popular amusements, which included dances to the fiddle playing of a slave loaned out for the occasion.
And even as I’m dancing out my grief this week I find my hands reaching out to other dancers I know are there, in Orlando particularly. Understanding anew how precious the dance is, as expressive relief and as an invocation of love. Recalling that tiny, grimey pink stuccoed bar in N’hamp where lesbians in the mid-70s claimed a backroom to do that dance, and were met with violence. And seeing too, how the refusal to quit becoming visible led to more violence on the streets of Northampton, but also birthed a radical coalition of progressive people willing to march down Main Street in support of lesbians and gays. A coalition that recognized the commonality of our oppression and our collective power.