Memory is a funny thing. And so are thoughts that grow from memories. I don’t remember much about being five years old. Not much, at all.
But one thing that stands out clearly, is The Captain Kangaroo Show. Oh, how I loved Captain Kangaroo, and all the works. There was Mr. Green Jeans, Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose, Grandfather Clock, and my BIG favorite…. Dancing Bear.
At that point in my life, I was certain that one day…. somehow…. some way… I too would have a dancing bear.
Sure of it. I was.
Then, some years later, Randy Newman came out with an album called Sail Away. (Super great album, by the way.) And wouldn’t you know? My favorite song on that release was “Simon Smith and His Dancing Bear.” This was the clincher for me.
Randy sang.. … ..
“I may go out tomorrow if I can borrow a coat to wear
Oh I’d step out in style with my sincere smile and my dancing bear
Outrageous alarming courageous charming
Oh who would think a boy and bear
Could be well accepted everywhere
It’s just amazing how fair people can be ”
It goes on. But every time I hear that song, I go back to wanting my Dancing Bear. I’ve never even seen one in real life. I know they have been in certain Circuses. I’ve seen the videos.
But in the videos, the bears don’t look very happy at all. And they certainly aren’t dancing. They are more or less being led around on leashes, and forced to jump rope, and do somersaults, and such. This is not dancing.
And, no. This isn’t the type I would want.
I’d want a friend. Someone who would go for a little walk with me in the forest, sporting a little red hat, and a very fine bow tie. That Bear and I would walk, and smile, and look, and see. And when we would happen upon a clearing, we would clear our throats, and start singing a sweet little melody.
Dancing Bear would put his paw in my hand. He’d twirl me around two or three times, and then we would perform the finest waltz ever to be stepped out on a carpet of lush green ferns, pine cone needles, and twigs.
And when our dance was through, we’d step back and bow, this way, and that. We’d glance up at the moon, give thanks for another beautiful memory in this life, and continue on our path. Together.
And that is how magical life can be.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”
“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”
― Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat