Archive for May, 2010

An Abundance of Goddesses

May 29, 2010

On May twenty-seventh, which I shall always think of as Isadora Duncan’s birthday, no matter what has been proven since I first loved her, the goddess of the dance returned to me. She was the second goddess of the week to dance determinedly into the realm of Leif. First came Loie – in a book sent by my wise and loving friend, Kendall. Here was a birthday gift: TRACES OF LIGHT –  Absence and Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller. With Loie in my hands I was instantly present – the dance as real and full-blooded for the sixty-six-year-old as for the sixteen-year-old. I felt myself expand and billow, rising to unfurl as gloriously as the dancer’s silk. And just as the silk was settling and the light was dimming. Isadora glided forward: LIFE INTO ART – Isadora Duncan and Her World was left for me at the Shearwater Pottery showroom by a kind and thoughtful acquaintance, and once more I was pulled into consciousness of who I am. Entranced, I turned the pages to discover images familiar over years of living symbioticly with the spirit of this remarkable woman, but also photographs never seen before revived my love. It had been so long since I had been sure that she was with me as beloved guide. I might have wept at the sheer relief of her return, yet joy was uppermost, and I took her home to place her with the other one. Whatever rivalry may have existed when they lived and danced, I sensed compatibility in this instance. Two graces were united in one purpose. This was to pull the third grace back to the fold.

As the week has passed, I find myself more than willing to be enticed. Convinced by the persuasive power of these great revolutionaries of the dance, that neither death nor the aging body can subdue the spirit of truth, I find myself in a state of resurrection. The dance flows forth: The ink from  my brush alights upon the page as on a stage in gestures physical and true; the wire moves through my hands as surely, finding form and paying tribute to my dear companions;  then in the calm of evening, a Chopin nocturne lures the third grace into movement. I am dancing. We are dancing. All is well.

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Where am I? Here I Am…

May 27, 2010

Yesterday I underwent a procedure that revealed ulcers in my esophagus and severe inflamation in my stomache.  This explains increased discomfort from the acid reflux disease that has been with me for some years. I am now on medications meant to heal, and am encouraged to raise the head of my bed, and abstain from eating or drinking acidic substances.  The whole experience has been distracting, and the anesthesia has left me groggy and removed from current creative projects. I am still uncomfortable – and, of course, alone in my discomfort. So… What’s new?

I am writing this, passing time until three hours have passed since lunch. All I want is to lie down and sleep, though a deeper part of me believes in expressing something, no matter how plebian. There is some hope that my journey through the muck of physical ailments will result in the revival of my spirit.  My spirit is untouched by my body’s transportation on a gurney through featureless and florescently illuminated corridors and into a small dim cubicle where I was conscious only briefly, then conscious again, only vaguely aware of recent indignities. A sore throat informed me that a tube was indeed inserted and my upper digestive tract explored and photographed and biopsied by the kind but busy doctor for whom I was one among many whose insides had been explored that morning.

Alright… It is now the next day. I was blessedly  interrupted. Dear children; they can be counted upon to distract one from the morbidity of self-pity. Oh… You didn’t know I was feeling low – and unloved? Actually, I only faced it after my daughter’s call left me weeping, wishing for someone who cares, then accepting things as they were. Time to deliver freshly baked bread to those whom I do not expect to care – and then time to help out with small sprites who snuggle sweetly against their “Nanny” – small sprites for whom communication is mostly physical – and healing in effect. The three-year-old happilly stuffed her mouth with honey oatmeal bread, and the four-month-old laughed until tears ran down his cheeks – all because his grandmother sang repeatedly of a little bird who shakes his little tail and “far away he flew”. I think it was the acting out that did it. I was highly animated, and it was such a releif to “fly”.

In Praise of Abundance

May 21, 2010

This is the dance that I do these days: an abundant dance. Having recovered from the illness that gifted me with pause, I spring into active participation. What else can one do when the active force takes hold? I am an aged sprite in spite of myself, caught up in the verdant reality of late spring. Around my house, all that is green is greener – actively filling up space with more of itself. Each day as I negotiate the curving driveway, I pass through a tunnel of greenness. I love this sense of being reborn each time I venture into the world out there, though on some days I long to stay in its close green embrace. But this is my time for issuing forth, for yielding to life in its various formations. It is time to surrender to what may be – time to grow.

I have surrendered to doing a joint exhibit with my sister at the family shop – at the Walter Anderson shop: Realizations. Since blogs cannot be displayed as art, my focus has had to shift somewhat. I am playing with wire again. More angels are finding form beneath my hands, but winged figures that dance in the air don’t seem to be enough. I have been surprised by  a cat, an elephant, a dog. Yet these, too, are fanciful, with wings, and hitch-hiking birds and butterflies. They are fanciful and pleasingly imperfect. They may be surprising companions to my sister’s elegant oil paintings of nature. Well, we do have the nature part in common, and contrast is good. Contrast is good.

So, at least on this day, I return to this blog – encouraged by a facebook message from my friend, Brian. Brian sent me a birthday wish, and also a sweet reminder that my few but fond readers are still with me. With his kind and loving suggestion  in mind, I shall believe again that my dance of balance continues to be worth sharing.

Mother’s Day – Another Way

May 9, 2010

My baby grandson has gifted me with another cold. This means that on this day when the world is celebrating mothers, this mother takes a break from motherhood and grandmotherhood. My germs make me less than helpful and, therefore, less desirable to all save me. Left to myself, I am free to embrace myself: congested sinuses, sore throat, and acheing body. These loveable infirmities allow me to relieve my children of the obligational gestures that the world dictates. Brief phone calls were just right: the satisfying sound of a beloved voice and one is free to move within one’s sphere of choice – or not to move.

Imagine celebrating freedom from motherhood. What a radical idea! Can one be mother and be liberated from the act of mothering? At least the sacrificial and compulsive act that drains the mother and leaves the child unsatisfied. Sitting here in my unwellness, I dare to pray for something better.

May Day

May 1, 2010

Today is the first of May and the beginning of my birth month. Last night I dreamt of Grace, a woman much loved and admired by my youthful self. I was sixteen when her first child was born, and I was made Godmother to this baby. In last night’s dream, she gave birth, as an older woman, to another child and, in my dream, I was helping her to care for this child.

The real Grace called me “twinkle toes” when I used to stay with her in New Orleans. I would take the bus into the city every weekend to study ballet with Lelia Haller. There was a lovely balance about this arrangement. My time in her home with the beautiful down to earth Grace and her baby boy was playful and sweet. I slept well in her home, ate pancakes shaped like animals and birds, and recieved comfort and advice when my twinkle toes stumbled over obstacles. Of course, there were obstacles, and times of anguish when I felt I could never measure up. The world I was braving was a competitive and exacting world. Still, I dreamt of effortless soaring  as a dancing star, and I worked terribly hard for an occasional word of praise. Frequent criticisms bruised my tender soul, and my push to be better left bloody blisters on my toes. Stressed tendons caused me to limp to the bus that would take me home to Grace.

Grace ran hot bubble baths that I might soak my grateful body, made milky tea and cinnamon toast to soothe the deeper hurts. There were often tears as I soaked, sipped, and nibbled. She listened and empathized, then told me stories of my teacher’s younger days, accomplishing the shift from misery to fascination. My impressionable mind was occupied by romantic imaginings as I drifted to sleep: Lelia Haller, first ballerina of the Paris Opera. Naturally, when I slept and dreamt, the dancing Lelia was interchangeable with the dancing Leif.

Dear Grace… Through the years I have often dreamt of you, and when I have, I have welcomed you as the woman whose generous  spirit and charming presence graced my younger days, but also as a reminder of spiritual grace. I wake up knowing that even now, as the aging dancer who continues to dream, I can find comfort and renewal through the gift of grace.