Let it Be a Dance

When only half of my luggage arrived with me on my United flight into Leon, Mexico, from Albuquerque via Houston, I was given two choices: Either let United deliver the rest of my things to my new home in San Miguel de Allende “manaña,” or wait until the next flight to arrive from Houston in over three hours.

Since we all know what “manaña” can mean, I – and my Mexican friend who had come to pick me up and drive me to San Miguel, an hour and a half away – decided to wait.

The question then became: How to fill the three-plus hours? First, we had a drink at the airport’s restaurant, at a table by the window where we could watch the incoming flights’ headlights in the night sky. Then we went for a long walk around the airport’s parking lot in the cool night air. Then we danced.

“Look, there’s a fiesta going on over there,” my friend pointed out from the farthest end of long-term parking. The happy music from the party wafted toward us as if inviting us in.

“Let’s dance!” I said. By this time it was nearly midnight, I’d been traveling all day, and all that was left in my tank was adrenaline.

He taught me the steps.

“You learn fast,” he said.

Mexican dancers

I danced to the traditional Mexican music as if I’d been waiting for this moment all my life. Doesn’t every woman, I thought, wait all her life to dance with a patient and sweet-natured Mexican man in the central mountains of Mexico under a crescent moon?

“People will think we’re crazy,” he said.

“I really don’t care,” I told him.


That’s one of the great pluses of turning 70, I’ve found. You no longer care what people think. Something inside says, I’ve earned the right to dance wherever and however and with whomever I wish – and nothing can stop me now.

In my own case, I never danced as much as I should have when I was young. When other kids in my suburban New Jersey town took dancing lessons once a week, my sisters and I didn’t because our parents couldn’t afford it. Then, in high school, I attended a Bible church that eschewed dancing, “because it leads to sex.” So I never went to a prom.

When I worked as a secretary in New York in my twenties, young men would often stop me on the street with the line, “Are you a dancer? You have a dancer’s body.”

“No,” I’d say and scurry away. But I couldn’t help but think that maybe I was made to be a dancer.

Thirty-one years ago, when my mother died, my daughter gave me a poem by an American poet I’d never heard of, Ric Masten, titled “Let it Be a Dance.” This poem has been reverberating in my mind ever since. Here is a small segment of it:

…Everybody turn and spin

Let your body learn to bend

And like a willow with the wind

Let it be a dance.

A child is born, the old must die

A time for joy, a time to cry

So take it as it passes by

And let it be a dance…


In his ‘70s song, “Oh Very Young,” Cat Stevens sang, “You’re only dancing on this earth for a short while.” Now, at this point, I feel as if I have a lot of lost dancing time to make up for. I plan to adapt to the music of Mexico and dance as much as I can.

16 thoughts on “Let it Be a Dance”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post, Bonnie. Your last post made me feel a bit sad – I felt that you had left America for reasons of finance more than anything. Now, I see you left to dance – among many other pleasurable joys I hope you will have in San Miguel. I look forward to hearing about it all. And, by the way, I think United “loses” more of my bags than all the other airlines put together. When we visited Todos Santos last spring, our host, knowing we would be flying United, advised us to bring a couple of days clothing in a carry-on. It was good advice.

  2. Wonderful piece, Bonnie. So nice to imagine you dancing with a good man, a man who appreciates you. I would agree, as well, with the observation of your body being a dancer’s body. And one more thing…I know the poem you reference. As a mater of fact it’s been set to music, and the Taos Unitarians sang it as a hymn last Sunday.

  3. I never fly to Mexico that my bags don’t arrive the next day – almost always. It doesn’t matter the airline, for some reason.
    It happened flying Houston to PV about 30 years ago. Nada, nothing (that’s when I learned to have a carry on). So, I bought a bikini and a pareo and some flipflops and fit right in with the rest of the crowd!
    It’s wonderful when those inhibitions get let loose. Bienvenidos.
    Glad to know you got your visa, your bags and that you are here………..Let me know what colonia you’ve living in…….I’ll be leaving for two months a couple of days after Christmas but maybe we can meet for a cup of coffee or just a little bench time.

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