As Christmas approaches, and around me the world is a maddening rush of preparation, I find myself clinging to the possibility of stillness. I want to rest in the fact of my own existence. I want to save myself from the clamor of holiday expectation. I pray for the truth to claim me and for the holy child within me to dream new dreams.

Yesterday, while in the throes of inner turmoil, I came across this photograph of my mother and myself. I had thought it lost, and now, just looking at it calmed, soothed, and brought me closer to myself. It was taken in 1986 in my father’s cottage by a photographer friend. CoCo had often taken photos of me dancing, but this was a shot she had long envisioned. We were posed on the window seat beneath the windows that had provided North light for my artist father, and the light was certainly instrumental to the achievement of a truthful portrait. 

I was allowed to rest within the guiding power of my mother’s hands. Grounded by her faith-filled love, I realized freedom in my life and through my dance. She blessed my creativity and found release herself through my wild leapings and cavortings. One of my favorite memories of my mother is of her sitting front row center while I performed. Her hands, which – even in stillness – spoke of grace, would seem to reflect  her dancing daughter’s flight. Long fingers stretched, fluttered, and flew before her motherly breast, while her face assumed a rapture that gave meaning to the daughter’s efforts to soar free.                              

  Repeatedly, I did soar free in response to my mother’s love and affirmation. For moments the soaring abandon achieved through dance was all I knew and all I cared about. And it was worth the inevitable descent, at least as long as my mother was there to ease my fall. If I was away, the telephone calls could be long and rather torturous. Poor Mama’s patience must have been tested. Things were easier when I was living close to home. Face to face – hot mugs of milky tea to hand, and butter cookies  melting sweetly on my tongue – old dances were quickly blessed and put to rest, dreams of future dances resurrected and discussed.

I realize now that I was dependent on her reassuring voice, her calming presence. Her faith in me as a dancer of unusual gifts went far toward keeping the dream alive. Being a mother, myself, my daily practice was often hard come by, but I approached it with a sense of preparation. The exercises were aimed at perfecting the dancer I was becoming. And when I improvised to Chopin and other inspiring music, I was performing for an imagined audience. I gave myself to those who sat enthralled. Later I called Mama and described my moments of transcendency.  She never  failed to celebrate my hight points, never failed to nurture the lagging dreamer. My mother has been gone almost twenty years. I miss her still and even miss the dreams we shared. Old dreams…


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2 Responses to “Dreaming”

  1. Kendall Says:

    I have tried to find words, and I remain speechless, full of wonder and love. I remember that window seat so well. And the two women in it are as much a part of my life as my own bones.

  2. leiflife Says:

    I cherish your response, dear one.

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