Archive for December, 2011

I Believe In The Christmas Fairy

December 31, 2011

I came upon this young magnolia tree as I walked with my dogs a few days ago. We were on Hudson – a road less traveled by cars and trucks than the street I must brave before I enter the slow, sweet curve of Hudson. The woods that border the road belong to faraway owners, who have either forgotten this land or prefer to leave the thickening foliage for the birds and animals who have made it their haven. The dogs delight in the scents left behind by fox and racoon. The occasional fox sighting is almost too much to bear (for all of us).  But, as I was saying, on this particular day we were blessed by a different sort of sight. Someone had decked this tree with a modest array of ornaments. The sunlight bounced off the golden balls, the magenta stars, and this woman – so tired from the holiday overkill – felt a leaping of heart. My delight in this simple childlike gesture brought me back half an hour later with my camera, which – having a mind of its own these days – has recorded a superfluous amount of light. Can there be too much light? The light seems appropriate in this case, so I post what I saw – at least with my inner eye: a fairy at work. I choose to believe in the secret and mischievous efforts of unseen sprites to bring smiles to the  hearts of those who need a small lift. A small gift…

Small gifts are the ones that have pleased me most this Christmas season. Another gift has been the appearance of a small black cat in the Inner Harber Park that we visit each day. Scruffy, skittish, and persistant in its presence, I couldn’t help my growing awaress of it as a gift of sorts. I began to bring food, and over the last few weeks it knows when we arrive and races from wherever it holds up to yowel, to purr, and to rub its now healthy coat against the dogs. They accept her attentions, sniffing and rubbing in turn, having come to accept this daily ritual.  When she looks up from her hungry partaking of the food I place in a bowl, her eyes – an amazing shade of luna moth green – have an other-worldly glow.  She is not mine, I am not hers, but we gift each other in simple ways.

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Giving And Receiving

December 22, 2011

Last week, as my cold gently dribbled its way to completion, and I was still opting for solitary and peaceful Christmas preparations, the outer world began to beckon in compelling ways. Important meetings – re/Walter Anderson – were called that I simply had to attend: three in as many days. Then a birthday invitation, and and a very dear friend – not seen in over a year – was in town. My germs excused me from the birthday lunch, but everyone else seemed to want me regardless.  Especially the friend, who opened his arms and said, “I want it all!”

At the time my all seemed not much. But I let myself be embraced as I was. I welcomed him into my haven and allowed the assembled works of my hands  do the talking. My friend walked around and received what I had received over many moments of solitary creating. He was happy and wanted nothing more, just to dwell for a short time in the light-filled studio of a fellow artist. For he, too, is an artist  who gives what he has been given. He, too, must abide in the solitary space of his creative life in order for the gift to go forth and touch other lives. 

So though I was sure I had little to offer when he first arrived, by the time he walked through my door and away, his happiness told me that he had received the most meaningful of gifts: confirmation of his own artistic imperative. He also carried with him a dancing angel formed out of wire – formed out of solitude: my gift to my self.

Dance of The Christmas Tree

December 11, 2011

On Thursday evening I purchased a tree from the Wisconsin Christmas tree man. It had been a long day, beginning with hosting a birthday breakfast for my sister and ending with picking up Music and Star from doggie camp. They had been there a week, and we were all looking forward to getting home. (For different reasons: they were not at all tired.) But earlier in the day my daughter had reminded me of the lovely rosey-cheeked man and the trees he’d been bringing to Ocean Springs for at least twenty years. For me, he has come to epitomize the Christmas spirit – that is, the restoring of the Christmas spirit in one who is once more facing the hullabaloo with dread.

Thursday evening was very cold. It helps if it’s cold. I suppose it helps if your car is loaded with excited children. So I psyched up the pups, reminding Star of the wonderful man who wanted to take her home with him ten years before, telling Music of the glorious smells that linger on trees that have traveled all the way from Wisconsin. I guess my voice must have carried enough enthusiasm; they were on their feet sniffing the air and peering in all directions. They do the same thing if I call their attention to a fox or racoon crossing the road, so I think the inflection in one’s voice is the trigger. No matter; we were all excited as I pulled up in the large lot full of cone-shaped trees and mysterious figures milling around. It was dark enough that lights had been lit. The whole area sparkled and glimmered as though stars had dropped low to assist this good man. The ambiance was just right for viewing his trees.

I stepped from the car and hugged myself against the chill, while scanning the figures for the one I sought. Perhaps I hugged myself in part because of my childish eagerness to see him again. I felt suddenly nervous: what if he wasn’t there? Then I saw the familiar bulky shoulders, the head with its warm, billed cap. He was with a customer, but he turned and the mythic proportions I had projected upon him were vanquished by the the most human of hugs. It is true that he had alot to wrap around me; I felt myself nearly lifted off the ground. As the customer moved away with one of the helpers, we did some catching up. He asked about Star, and I pointed to the car where two long-eared doggies hung their heads out the windows. They were watching our every move – ready for their share of the fun.

Soon a fragrant white pine was being strapped to the top of my Prius while the dogs bounced happily from front to back seat and in between. Generous rubs from a large friendly hand brought shivers of pleasure. I was shivering, too, as another hug was bestowed upon me. Pleasure was present as I said farewell, but I drove home aware of a bone-deep chill that would later turn into a cold.

Some colds arrive with moderate enough symptoms that they can be dubbed friendly colds. This one is like that. Still, no one wants the germs but me. The dear little creatures assure me of a solitude that needn’t be fought for, and free of the usual distractions, I have found time to raise the Christmas tree. I have draped it with lights and sat quietly in its glow. I have contemplated its negative spaces and imagined paper cutouts of dancers turning them positive. Lastly, I have taken scissors to paper and watched as a dancer found form. Now I see this first dancer ascend as though following a path of light, and I find myself glad for the path I was following thursday night. I can still feel the hug.

Living The Dance

December 4, 2011

I’ve been asked to write of the possibility of applying my experience as a dancer to everyday living. Can I live as I have danced? Can I approach my dailly encounters with family, friends and acquaintances with the same strong faith in my gestures, whatever they turn out to be?

As a dancer, I have experienced a sense of unity countless times, whether with students, fellow dancers, or audience members. I have flowed with the energy that comes my way, allowing my own to mesh fearlessly with that of another. Through dance, I yield my personality to a larger reality. This does not mean I sacrifice myself. It is rather that when I embrace my self in all its guises, yielding comes naturally. The self I yield is wholly loved and wholly lovable. Therefore, the other is also wholly loved and wholly lovable. I see with my larger self the dance of the other. Difference is discernible, but not divisible – when I am a dancer.

So, am I not a dancer as I go about my life each day, or do I set aside that self – secure and trusting in her vulnerability –  to act a part designed to please the ones that may reject the dancer or the dance? If this is the case, then oh what a foolish game I play. For I am rejecting the one whose dance is based upon knowing she is loved.