A Legacy Of Wings – And Beyond

A Legacy O Wings

I have a vase presented to me by my mother after my father died. Drawn upon its gracefully curving surface is a very young child with wings. They are tiny bud-like things, insufficient for flying, but promising. Mama claimed that after my birth, Daddy painted the vase in celebration of my arrival. I cherish this very personal legacy and continue to be challenged by his long ago faith in my future flight.

Wings come in many forms, and flight can be subtle or dramatic: inherent in one’s nature or aspired to for various and mysterious reasons. As a child, observing my father’s regard for birds, I sought to emulate their flight through dancing. This may have brought a fleeting smile to his lips, before he dashed off in search of real birds, real wings: the greatest inspiration for his particular mode of flying. My mother’s smiles, though forced at times, lasted longer and were dependable over the years that followed. So I continued to dance, continued to believe in the wings my father, inadvertently perhaps, implanted in his baby daughter’s heart.


With the passing of time, the original source of my wings and my means of flying has become obscured by my own necessity. Maturity calls for a certain distancing from parental influence. Compelled to realize my personal flight path, I have needed to escape the relentless flapping of my father’s artistic genius. His wings, so obviously those of a giant: be it bird or angel, have caused a considerable stir, displaced a considerable amount of air. Caught in a downdraft, one might flounder; doubts diminish one’s tenuous hold on winged endeavors. The cooing support of my faithful mother has long been silent; the soaring achieved through dance been slowed or stilled as I found other ways to fly.


Remarkable to discover that wings in repose can assume new power. New feathers can sprout as the old ones wither and fall. Imagine feathers slowly creating new wings, new wings inclined toward new ways of expressing flight. These wings, innately patient in themselves, teach patience to the willing individual, even as she soars into untried areas of creativity.


Recognizing the source of these new wings as spiritual, and possibly less fleeting than a father’s admiration or a mother’s love for her daughter’s dance, I trust their flight. I brave the stillness required to let words wing their way onto the page, or I calmly watch the line of ink dart forth from my brush. Forgetting my father’s flight, away and beyond his daughter’s reach, I sculpt my own clay angels, firing them into glowing aspects of a woman’s journey. My hands, discovering yet another way to fly, now flutter freely over the keys, releasing a brave new music that, in turn, releases a brave new dance in me. I have come to believe that a legacy, even of wings, must evolve to continue flying.

The above was read as an introduction to my presentation on Sunday at The Ogden Museum. It was followed by a mixture of dance and sung poems. It was all well-received by an empathetic audience, but for me the best part was the reading and the hearing of these words – knowing, as I read, the truth of what I had written almost two years ago. My own understanding of my need to evolve – to move beyond my heritage, as marvelous as it may be was my gift to myself and allowed me to brave the performing aspect of my offering. Yes, I did sing, hopeful that the singing was part of this dancer’s need to evolve. It may be, yet for me the singing did not quite fly. Perhaps my singing life is a private sort of a flight, or perhaps I rushed my own process into the world before it was ready. The beauty of evolution is that if one is truly in the moment, one may not know it is happening.


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3 Responses to “A Legacy Of Wings – And Beyond”

  1. Kendall Says:

    New wings, sweet Leif. Stretch those new wings, flap them gently, see where they take you. On the updraft beside you when I can be, me.

  2. Ann Says:

    Kendall said it all, dear Leif.

  3. leiflife Says:

    Thank you, dearest Kendall, for kindness and encouragement. You make me want to see where they will take me. Waiting for the updraft…

    And Ann, your echo of our precious K, is so appreciated.

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