Archive for August, 2011

Angel Alarm

August 25, 2011

Alarm is not a word I would generally use in relation to angels. In fact I did my best to avoid the word when naming her: tried Angel Surprised and Startled Angel before yielding. At least alarm is better than Trapped Angel or Panic In Midair. I think…

I always think of angels as bearers of truth, and usually the truth they bear also brings comfort or reassurance – even affirmation. With this particular angel, it was three weeks before I could fully receive her message. (I still tremble at the prospect of hearing her out.) I began her somewhat blindly: picked up the wire while watching some movie on TCM. Apparently, neither the movie or the angel held my interest because –  for the next week or so – her  upper torso dangled over the edge of my work basket on the stairs to the storage loft. I tried to ignore the desperate look of her (Icould see her from my bed). Finally, during a heart to heart on the telephone with my dear friend, Kendall, I knew it would be in my best interest to give her the abdomen, hips and legs that would ground her and possibly relieve my own state of anxiety – bring my own scattered energy into focus.

Obedience to the artistic imperative – simply placing oneself at the service of art – can calm the clamor that overwhelms us in our daily lives. The thoughts that spin through our brains – intensifyng our reactions to natural occurences – can be stilled by letting our hands do the work that our minds have been stymied by. By giving the angel what she needed, I gave myself rest, and I really was pleased by the lively gesture of her completed body – her abundant wings. I placed her on the arm of my new relaxing chair. Her shine looked lovely against the blue. All seemed well.

Truth to tell, she was still on hold; I had not yet given her that crowning glory: the hair in contrasting gold wire that would complete her gesture and her message. For another week, I kept moving her from chair to bed according to my own requirements. She was waiting, as I was waiting for the demands of my life to be less absorbing, less disturbing, less demanding. She was so dearly patient as I let myself be pulled hither and thither by exterior forces. Yesterday, once again right after a heart to heart with Kendall (Bless her…), I heeded the call and took up the angel in my hands.

This time it was definitely not restful. Though I sat in my comfortable chair, we seemed to be engaged in a kind of wrestling match. The thin gold wire was inclined to tangle with different parts of the angel. It resisted my efforts to control – seemed electric and nearly dangerous to the angel’s already completed form. I must protect and free her as I went through the motions of attaching and shaping her rather surprising hairstyle. When I clipped her loose from the spool and held her aloft, her hair seemed to radiate – sunburst-like – from her head. But now as I look at her starkly highlighted against the black cloth, I can as easily think “hair on end”.

Oh poor dear angel – suspended in your truth that I might understand – I promise to continue this process of releasing us from conflicting forces. We will burst free if willingness has any power at all. I will find the courage to heed the message you have been brave enough to deliver.



August 23, 2011


Dear God, here is a small prayer of thanks for the light that you shine on our world. Such a generous light! Please grant us the courage and patience to look upon what the light shows and receive it as grace. It comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and patterns. Sometimes we cannot recognize your love in what you offer. Help us to strive for the faith of innocent childhood, and hold out our minds, hearts, and bodies with eager joy to receive the gifts that are meant for our good. Teach us to know your presence in every glance and gesture, and be glad. Amen…

Variations On A Theme

August 11, 2011

Variety is said to be the spice of life. My own life has tended to embrace this reality, but when I am spinning from this to that occupation or obligation, I may long for  periods of simply idling through the days. Truth to tell, I can handle only the briefest periods of nothingness. I would much rather follow the precepts of my Airthly dance – trust the calm, sweet center to see me through the chaos. The balancing of these seemingly opposite forces could be said to be my “purpose” – albeit with the knowledge that balance can only be realized by tossing oneself on the wave of life as it tips and spills and scatters you this way and that. Braving imbalance inevitably shows you the balance that is not dependent on control. The result is variety, whether in dance or in life.

This past week has been teeming with variety. True I was not always aware of the spilling and scattering I have endorsed. It began with the relatively calm occupation of working with the wire. Having been asked to provide a few pieces for ARTWALK – to take place in downtown Ocean Springs in September – I took up the wire. I hadn’t done any animals for a while so I braved the possibility of a dog. The result was a humble hound: a calm creature, almost stately in his unassuming demeanor.  But, rather dull? Well… Being me I gave him the wings of an angel. This is certainly my experience of dogs. My furry angels… And then came the dragonfly. I couldn’t resist a touch of frivolity. Then came the puddle of water at the base of the air conditioner, and putting myself at the mercy Airmasters. These are supposed to be masters of air??? Before the week was done I’d been visited by five of these masters. Variety it was, but the mystery was much too mysterious for these nice guys who knelt or lay on the floor of my studio and studied the situation. The universe really tried to make things more interesting for me, but I wearied of this particular variety long before the last master left with an optimistic smile on his face. An hour later I closed the door on the roaring and vibrating unit with its seeping puddle and took my angel dogs to the park. When we returned, the floor was dry.

Even as this and other mundane examples of life’s variety was going on, I found time in the evenings to return to the wire and surprise myself with  an elegant little cat. This was done with the wire that had just arrived – supposedly the same gauge I’d been using for years. I found it more flexible and when I placed the cat beside the dog that was done with the last bit of wire on the old spool, I found it thinner and more delicate looking. No matter… It suited the feline form and was easier on my slightly arthritic fingers. My cat wears a necklace adorned with a flower. She, too, is winged, and even in her crouching state, she seems expectant – prepared for movement. Even as I see her close connection with the earth, it seems fleeting. She crouches only to spring into the air. I trust her rebound as I trust my own. The dancer and the cat have much in common.

Whoever reads this may question my use of the word teeming, but I havn’t mentioned the mothering, the grandmothering, or the sistering that the week contained. I havn’t mentioned the driving or feeding of grandchildren, or the phone talks with children who cope with their own lives of variety and longing. And what of my daughter’s amazing benefit for The Women’s Center: YOGA For NON-VIOLENCE? I was there as witness, observing the many devoted participants who would move through 108 sun-salutations under the guidance of my beautiful daughter. This took place at the Ocean Springs Community Center before my father’s glowing murals. A momentous occasion, and the very next day I accompanied my sister to The Biloxi Little Theater’s production of “Rent”. Yes, teeming…

Finally, I kept my appointment with my therapist, and gloried in the long drive through the rain – singing my earth-mother poem, allowing the words of my younger self to remind me of my ongoing connection with the earth as mother: “…curled to her broad warm back like a babe.” From my belief in this reality – this calming source – I can be ready for the dance of life, however varied the dance may be – wherever it takes me.

Summer Showers and Mushrooms

August 1, 2011

Good old-fashioned afternoon rain storms have finally brought relief from the drought that has oppressed this area for months. It feels like the summer rains of my childhood. The rumble of distant thunder slowly coming closer, the gentle pattering that is a refreshing warning for the harder drenching rain that the earth so loves. As a child, I ran and danced with my cousins, welcoming the pelting chilling affect, so in contrast to the sweltering heat that drove us inside to read comic books beneath ceiling fans. The rain brought energy and new life almost daily.

Recent rains have brought mushrooms of all sorts – pushing up overnight through the soggy layers of last summer’s leaves. These days – as I amble out with the dogs – I discover the newly emerged and delight in their varied forms – some as smooth and delicate as baby skin, some in vivid colors that seem to warn one to stay away. I am not a connoisseur of mushrooms or toadstools. I appreciate them aesthetically and their appearance can spark my imagination. One evening I spotted this one glowing magically against decaying leaf matter. My first thought wasn’t mushroom, it was newly forming fetus – or even sleeping child. It roused a reverence in me that caused me to stand and gaze in wonder at its perfect form. I wanted to be what I was seeing if only for a moment: newly forming, innocent, completely trusting.

Of course my dogs were ready to move on. Leashes were taut and vibrating with canine eagerness. Noses were glued to the ground, absorbing scents that were as fascinating to them as the sight that I had been so moved by was to me. I held the sight and its effect in my memory throughout our walk, and back at the house I grabbed my camera and returned to record what I had seen. To me it was a gift – an icon of sorts. I wanted a reminder of its message.