“This contest,”  Tanta asked.  “Gonna be at the usual place?”

“Of course”  The countess replied.  “It is tradition.”

The three ladies (though two would smirk at being called such) sat at a small table between practices.  Bottles of water and cups of tea were on the table before them along with a small plate of freshly made cookies.  Free poked at one and sighed.  “Bacon-chocolate again?”

Tanta smiled without comment and returned her focus to the Countess.  “That be a good thing, that hall has history and we can take advantage of that.”

The Countess leaned forward, now paying more attention, “How, what advantage is to be had if we both dance on the same stage?”

“You remember the first lesson I taught you?  About intent?  I told you about your intent in a dance is not a thing you can see but it makes all the difference in the mood, in the moves.  There is a difference between moving and moving with intent.  Now old buildings, they has the same thing, the same . . . ”  Tanta waved her hand. “You feel it sometimes, if you pays attention.  Schools, churches, they has a feel if they have been made right, used right.  You step into one, close your eyes and just feels it.  This place I brought you to?  been teaching here for a very long time.  It is a place where I seem to get better results.  Close your eyes . . . feel the history of the place, all the students who have come and gone chasing dance when they shoulda stayed still a moment and let the dance find them.  But this place, it has intent.”

She closed her eyes and after a moment the Countess followed suit.  Free watched the pair of them but kept her own eyes open, moving, guarding. Others formed a wider perimeter and a small comm patch would let her know if anything had happened further out be she knew that she was the last line.

“La,”  Tanta said, opening her eyes. “Now the contest venue?  It be a place where the challenges have happened for a very long time.  So whatchoo think the intent of that building be?”

The Countess looked to Tanta and considered the question.  “Challenge, winning, losing, an exhibition.”

“Conflict and choosing are very old tings and they leave their mark.  So you use that but choose the intent you want to speak to you.  The winning.  Let that resonate within you and grow, become part of what you do on that stage. Take a moment and let it flow into you, through you let the winning take hold even before you take the first step.”

The Countess looked to Free, questioningly.

“I have been to places where death hung heavy in the air.  Slave pens where despair and surrender soaked into you.  I do not know if it was  a byproduct of the architecture and its purpose or something more spiritual but I know what Tanta speaks of, I know.”  Free spoke softly.  “I have been in well appointed houses that were just walls and furnishings and small barren apartments where you knew a home was and love grows . . . ”  She shook her head.  “I knows better than to argue with Tanta, you let the win become part of you just as I never enter combat planning to fall.  If your opponent sees it and feels it, all the better, they will almost default into the defensive, the losing position.”

“But talk is not dance, up, tea is ova.  We work on form and flow again, today . . . ”  Tanta rose smoothly and stepped out onto the open dance floor drawing the Countess with her.



I have been in old schools and libraries and felt the building about me.  I have found peace in old churches and feared to walk into certain old folks homes when I was a courier because the place was shrouded in death.  I have never been to Notre Dame but I felt the loss caused by the fire, just the same.

For others of you?  It may be a sporting arena, or your favourite pub.  Buildings take on a feel.  Go to a new anything and you feel the difference.  Or the missing bit that the historical ones have.

The last category is nature itself.  Not all beaches are the same, not all places in the woods.  I have places that calmed me and others that hurried me on the way through.

I am back from my vacation, back to Eve, to writing, home.

fly it like you won it



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