A little child runs on the beach,
the sand getting stuck between her toes
and kicked up behind her as she steps.
She sways back and forth, to hidden music,
her arms swinging and her hair wildly flying;
she dances in the gentle, welcome breeze.
The sun dips down over the water,
casting brilliant rays across the sky
and reflecting, too, over the immense ocean,
in thousands of glistening specks of pure light.
Where are you running to, little child?
Great joy and deep gladness is here, alive.
See it in her eyes, glistening,
see it in the lightness of her step.
The trees sway in the gentle breeze,
as if to join with her in her dance.
The sand, kicked up under her feet,
conceals rocks also, hidden and unseen.
She trips and falls to the ground.
For a moment she feels tears forming,
glistening at the edges of her eyes.
But she looks up and sees the brilliant sunset.
She rises again and continues dancing still.
Beauty draws her child’s-heart, receptive,
beauty, which she sees in these colors,
multitudinous, refracting in the sea and the sky.
Beauty, which she hears in hidden music,
the music of the wind and the waves.
Beauty at the touch of sand’s softness,
and the warmth of summer evening, once again.
For she dances here, often, again and again.
Running, again and again, seeking something new,
drawn by this beauty to greater beauty,
a child’s-heart longing for magnificent love.
But the joy of this beauty begins to dim
as the sky darkens slowly into night
and the warmth gives way to bitter chill.
She is running, still, at the same pace as before,
but her arms have begun to sway a little less.
Her legs ache a little, now, as well,
and she notices also a pain in her head.
Fallen, she has become hurt a little now.
Beauty slowly gives place to struggle,
and light gives way to darkness of night.
She falls again, this time in exhaustion,
not so much of the body, but of heart.
The gift of the day-star, shining bright,
has fallen behind the horizon, hidden now.
The gift of the music has been stilled;
the embrace of nature’s warmth has grown cool.
She wants to rise again, to keep going,
to rediscover, in dancing and swaying, the joy she knew.
But the dance is more forced this time, now,
and the joy does not spring so freely, here.
A little child, as little as she is,
cannot always run and play without falling,
for her legs are too weak to hold her up
and she balances still very imperfectly.
But she runs, nonetheless, for that is,
certainly, the only thing that there is to do.
She slows, at last, to a slower pace,
dancing now for darkness, without eyes.
She gives it her best effort, all she has.
But without drinking in, how can she give?
Seeking, seeking, seeking, again and again,
eyes look through the darkness, questioning.
A light breaks gently, now, over the horizon,
the moon revealing her sweet and gentle rays.
There is a little light now, gently shining,
on the lightness of the sand, here reflecting.
She resolves to dance again, for the moonlight,
that the whiteness may rejoice in her moves.
But now she feels something else, deep within her,
expectancy of something new, which she sought.
But it lies not in her own dancing, this alone.
The moon begins telling her a different story,
yet the same story as always, yet made new,
enfolding all and renewing it in its light.
A figure approaches through the darkness,
and gently touches her head where she hurts.
Yet she is no way frightened, but feels deeply,
surging up from her inmost depth,
a secret joy and a hidden consolation.
How does he know about my wound?
Has he been watching me all this time?
Then he takes her hand tenderly in his,
and begins swaying to hidden music.
His feet begin to move now on the sand,
kicking it up, lightly, behind his step.
She allows herself, simply, to follow,
and finds a rhythm, a music, enfolding her again.
A beauty shines, like the day-star early rising,
from the face which looks gently upon her now.
The dance is mine, my dear, little child,
she hears him say, words of great tenderness,
yet his voice sounds without the need for words.
Let me lead you, step by step, hand in hand.
She feels in her heart a quiet reversal,
yet a change which in no way at all
casts aside what went before it in time.
Rather, it embraces her, like his arms:
Father dancing with his beloved child.
She no longer seeks feverishly, now,
for that beauty which she, then, did not know,
but rejoices, now, in its presence in this moment:
his arms are around her, gently protecting,
as he leads her, step by step, in the dance.