how to move a mountain


Dancing in a small company has its advantages and disadvantages. Increased opportunities during the season often means a smaller contract. The season is short, layoff is long. Transitioning back into ballerina after a summer of wearing every other hat is never easy. I learn this lesson the hard way each year, and yet still, an easy solution evades me.

While I’ve vowed to intensify my search for summer companies and semi-affordable professional programs next year (recommendations?!), this season I’m relying on a certain proverb I lived through in Boulder…

Confucios said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”


One hot, sunny day, at the climax of a long hike, M and I crossed a steep plane of boulders to gaze out at the valley below. We sat to rest our legs before the descent, sharing an apple and patting ourselves on the backs for surviving the altitude yet again. False confidence fueled foolish movements and in an instant my phone was knocked down below the rocks. I could peek down through the cracks and see it sitting there, just 2 feet below me, but heavy boulders blocked my futile rescue attempts. M started picking out small stones from their wedged positions between boulders. We tossed aside one dusty rock after another, until one boulder wiggled and shoved aside. Then another. We carried on wiggling and prying, with the help of a passing good samaritan, and then not.

An hour later the phone was a bit smashed but back in my hand. I wanted to give up multiple times throughout the rescue mission. M persevered. The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. We cannot expect results immediately. It cannot be done all at once. Piece by piece, day by day, I am chipping away at my own mountain. Moving small stones back into place. Sealing the wiggling joints, solidifying my stance. Reaching toward my peak…


first photo by Tasnima Tanzim.

One thought on “how to move a mountain

  1. Pingback: two thousand eighteen | Setting The Barre

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