A Reason To Dance

One week from today I will – yet again – find myself dancing before my father’s mural’s in the Ocean Springs Community Center. The occasion will be the twentieth anniversary of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art. I am dancing not as Leif Anderson, a dancer worthy of being seen, but as Leif Anderson, the daughter of the artist, Walter Anderson. This is a familiar reason to dance. There have been countless such appearances, and I have always risen to the occasion.

This time the rising is slow to happen. I find myself weary of celebrating the parent who was never really there. His rare appearances were of the nervous-making sort, possibly better than no appearances. I have made the most of my memories of my father in my book: DANCING WITH MY FATHER,  and this was a deeply healing experience – even freeing for a while. Yet – six years later – I am  still expected to celebrate his life  more than my own. I am obligated as he never  was by his child’s existence. Love wasn’t enough, I guess.

Because I do believe he loved me, perhaps saw in me some of his own passion for expression even as his quest repeatedly pulled him away to his solitary pursuits. And I have to believe he inspired me to follow my dreams, although it was my ever present mother who so nurtured those dreams – encouraged the flight by grounding it in reality.

She did this for him, as well, made a living that he might live – supported his artmaking that this same art might eventually support so many. Would there be a Walter Anderson Museum of Art without the dependable grounding love that Agnes Grinstead Anderson provided for her husband and their children. 

Perhaps whoever is reading this will understand that I have been questing as I write – questing for a reason to back up my Sunday performance – and I think I may have found it. My purpose (a familiar one, really) is to do my best to restore the balance. I shall begin by celebrating my mother’s essential contribution to the whole.

Years ago I wrote two poems to affirm my parentage. I revived them this year – have been singing them as I walk the dogs or drive around in the car. The interesting thing I have noticed is that the Earth Mother poem can stand alone. It comforts and grounds me as my human mother once did. But the Father Sky poem cannot fly alone; it requires the Earth Mother poem to lift off. It has to begin with her. Bless you, Mama… Daddy and I are eternally grateful for the dance.


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One Response to “A Reason To Dance”

  1. Dance Says:


    […]A Reason To Dance « A Dance of Balance[…]…

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