Archive for May, 2013

A PLACE TO DANCE

May 28, 2013

My feet on Rug (1024x939) (2)…or not to dance.

A place defined…

yet not defined

by life’s accumulated dances.

A small inviting place

to be the me

uncluttered by the years.

A softly yielding place

for my old feet to stand forgetful

of accumulated dances

and of life.

Old feet, dear feet…

Dear carriers

of all my hopes and dreams

and failed attempts

to tell my story through the language of the body.

Old body…

Poor tired body

having given birth

to endless dances, love affairs and

children,

now you bear yourself.

Yourself – so scarred and torn

by life’s compulsion to keep happening –

 you even bear our younger self:

her body still pristine and strong,

still lingering in the wings of possibility.

She asks repeatedly:

“Why don’t you dance?”,

and does not want to hear

the sad refrain:

“I am exhausted from a life of constant dances.”

I need a place to be completely free

of expectations of the dance of me.

I need a place…

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Small Treasure

May 22, 2013

Small Treasure (Baby Turtle) 024 (768x1024) (2)I followed my dogs

as they sniffed and marked

the perimeters of our so-called yard.

This yard is unkempt

surrounded

by  impenetrable woodland.

Briars keep us out, but nothing stops

the wilder creatures of the woods

from wandering

the tempting territory of the tamed.

Foxes, raccoons, armadillos, possums

and the like

have left their fascinating scent behind

for fascinated dogs to find.

Small Turtle  025 (768x1024) (2)

This tiny wild one –

newly arrived in the tangible world –

has bravely ventured onto the path

I travel with my dogs.

Every baby has the power to move a tender heart.

My heart was moved.

And my eye was moved

to record its vulnerable beauty…

its complimentary relationship

to flower and leaf.

If only

every new life began in just this way:

beautifully vulnerable…

a perfect compliment to its environment…

Perhaps it does…

A VISIT TO THE MUSEUM

May 12, 2013

Julia at WAMA (With Her Classmates) in The Community Center 109 (1024x677) (3)I was still recovering when my son, Vanja, asked me to meet my granddaughter’s  class at the museum for their tour, and I had my doubts. But, when he told me Julia had asked if Nanny would be there, I knew I would go.

There must have been at least twenty children and adults in our “tour”, and my little camera did overtime as I focused and shot, determined to record their journey. Yet, later, when I looked at the shots of the larger group, I found a need to pull closer…to select and crop in order to catch the response of small groups and individuals. Each child matters so much in the overall experience.

It has been more than two weeks since that joyous day with Julia and her classmates, and time has allowed me to gaze upon faces and gestures and come to know them a bit. I am also revisiting my extraordinary father’s murals through their pristine perceptions. I thank them for that.

Julia at WAMA (A Dance of Hands) in The Community Center 118 (1024x768) (2)It all started with Melissa, who greeted the children at the door and escorted them into The Community Center: a large room originally built for community functions. In the fifties my father was paid a dollar to paint murals on the walls. One wall would depict the history of our little town of Ocean Springs. The rest of the room would be painted according to the artist’s choosing. (I was taking ballet lessons in the room while my father was painting those walls.) Melissa established a rapport with children from the beginning. She is a marvelous storyteller and teacher, and part of being a kindergartener is getting close and bonding with a teacher.  As I looked through these images, hands and faces seemed as expressive as the painted murals. In fact they seemed to be interdependent.  Their union completes the picture.

Julia at WAMA (Can We Fly, Too) in The Community Center 113 (1024x661) (2)

I think I will never see this pelican again without also seeing the enthusiastic raising of small hands.

Julia at WAMA (I Love You, Nanny) in The Community Center 106 (1024x713) (2)Nor will I ever forget the loving gaze I received from Julia. I still feel the love that she paused to send in her Nanny’s direction. Her happiness was palpable, and I was, amazingly, part of that.

 Inspired by her love Julia at WAMA ( My Father's Birds) in The Community Center 121 (768x1024) (2)

and my father’s spiraling birds,

I led the children in a small dance of bird-like freedom.

Julia was ready;

 her lovely arms were ascending,

unfolding in the Airth way to form wings.

Child-wings soon filled the air,

eyes were alight with flight.

I may have been a grandmother

and the air around me filled

with fledglings,

Yet, together, we were dancing/flying with my father’s birds.

Julia at WAMA (The Light Is Passed) in The Little Room 140 (925x1024) (2)After an extremely reluctant descent from the world of bird, the still softly peeping children were led by the patient Melissa down the long hallway to The Little Room.

The Little Room was once attached to Walter Anderson’s cottage on the Shearwater Pottery compound. For many years after my father’s death in 1965, visitors were led into the painted room as into the holy of holies, often by my mother, the artist’s wife.

Mama’s reverence for the room

was now echoed by Melissa.

Her rapt expression even reminded me

of my mama’s…

as the light from the window caused her to glow

along with the walls.

I remember Mama standing in the room

her arm raised and her hand

all turned to light.

Here, now, was little Julia standing

beside Melissa

her small hand turned to light.

And all the children were receiving…

LIGHT!

Julia at WAMA (Enthralled By Beauty) in The Little Room 137 (1024x953) (2)

A STORY OF TWO PEARS

May 5, 2013

Pears Variations (Color) 066 (1024x768) Canon (2)I rarely buy pears;

their mild white flesh –

though loaded with juice –

is not to my taste.

Yet recently browsing at Rouse’s Supermarket,

I found myself standing and gazing admiringly

at pears.

Piled up in the usual

abundant and precarious manner

of supermarket fruit,

they appeared to be winking,

exposing the rosy flush on their cheeks

to my (I confess it) susceptible eye.

I surrendered.

??????????????????????Once at home with my pears,

I figured it out:

the eye that had stopped me in front of the pears

was the eye of the recently ordained photographer.

And the poor dear pears,

delectable as they are to some,

were soon posed and posed again

on the usual black drape.

The drape was becoming

to the yellow-green pears

with their blushing cheeks.

The lovely pear shape was enhanced to perfection.

But form calls to form.

??????????????????????After shooting countless variations

of pear unto pear,

I recalled a particular sculpture

that might lend itself

to the arrangement.

She was one of several abstract figures

done in the nineties,

and I found her to be complimentary

to the pears.

They seemed to be getting rather tired,

but they perked up considerably

in her motherly presence.

Who would have thought

that the figure’s attitude would be maternal?

??????????????????????Yet I watched

as she leaned,

sheltered

and even hid her charges,

in case of harm.

Before this particular story

came to end,

I sensed that the motherly one

was becoming overwrought,

a bit bent out of shape by responsibility.

Not that she didn’t continue to do her best.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe cared so much.

So I knew when the story must reach its completion.

The pears must return to their natural state,

as food to be placed in the fridge

for eventual consumption.

Perhaps a salad of arugula, walnuts, pears

and Wensleydale cheese…

Oh dear…

As for the sculpture,

having played her part

as model for an avid photographer…

and mother to pears,

She was carried carefully back to

her place on a shelf,

alone with her memories,

but strong in her solitude.

Possibly thankful for the experience

of mothering pears…

and of letting them go.

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EYE TO EYE

May 1, 2013

Eye To Eye 088 (1024x783) (2)Seeing can be mysterious. I am eager to go eye to eye with the world I inhabit, no less the world that inhabits me. I have even played the part of seer…been called upon for my insightfulness. I admit to being a quester after truth. I want to understand – probably to a fault – long to heal and whole myself to the best of my ability. I know: this questing, understanding, healing must be balanced by faith in divine intervention. I know that surrender is part of the game.

Over the last few months, I have found that photography can be a marvelous means of balancing the inner and outer seeing. Taking pictures of what I see delights me; it helps me to appreciate my world to cherish the simple gifts that each day places in my path. Later I come eye to eye with the image and receive what I have seen. Often it conveys something less than simple to my understanding. I find myself seeing through the beauty or interest of familiar things and fall into the possible meaning as effortlessly as I fell into the shallow waters of The Sound as a child.

Just the fact that I can see myself at the bottom of a glass of water and feel myself drawn to that tiny me is something of a miracle. Isn’t it? Isn’t is wondrous that I am moved to take a picture of a glass I drink from all day and every day just because the sunlight hits it a certain way, wondrous that I can see this as magical and beautiful. I am susceptible to beauty.

Inner Harbor green heron (closer up) 023 (890x1024) (2)Daily I visit the Inner Harbor Park with my dogs. This is our short walk, and short walks have been more or less the rule  as I have been fighting off the UTI.  Actually this has gifted me with opportunities to photograph other frequenters of the park. I came across this young Green Heron just after posting my last blog. Of course it seemed to me that my father’s spirit had entered the body of the bird as an offering to his freedom-loving daughter. The message: there is freedom in painting or photographing freedom.

I tucked the dogs leashes under my feet and leaned on the railing to steady my hands. This is a kind of freedom that Music and Star barely tolerate. They stand or sit as I shoot in a kind of rapture, occasional tugs of impatience travel up my legs, but my mind is set free by this process of absorbing through eye and camera eye. It is always the subject of my focus that lets me know when enough is enough, or possibly – in the heron’s case – the minnows he was catching and swallowing whole have gone elsewhere.. He flew…and I must shake myself free of my rapture and follow my dogs.

Inner Harbor Nutria 244 (1024x768) (2)This little Nutria, having taken refuge from a pre-storm flooding of the harbor had found a feast of delectable green stuff and tolerated my snapping for a limited amount of time before turning a fierce gaze in our direction and pursued. This time we were the ones to fly from the tiny beast intent on… What? I wasn’t waiting to find out.

Another fierce creature – mostly in dormant mode – has attracted my eye. A large and lazy alligator drowses on the opposite bank from the park we humans perceive has “safe”.  His wonderful laid out poses compel me to tuck the leashes and to lean in his direction. He, too, has occasionally demonstrated and a certain limit to his tolerance, has suddenly stirred and lowered his long reptilian body into the water. The water is that which divides him from me and my little dogs. We moved too…right after snapping one last interesting shot.

Inner Harbor Alligator (color) 028 (1024x816) (3)I gaze at this photograph and see balance. If one can move past the slightly menacing nature of the subject, one can perceive that the inner and outer reality is visible. I love the way the water reveals and magnifies the inner and more mysterious aspect of the creature. The original fascination goes deeper. At least mine does. As I said before, seeing can be mysterious. It is relief to me that seeing can be oblique.

When I began this posting, I did have a quest of sorts; I was hoping to find (or to see) some interior reason behind my on-going physical problems: a UTI that lingers, antibiotics that attack my system rather than heal my symptoms, a rotator cuff that continues to pain me in spite of steroid shots and rehab exercises, a digestive system that insists on simple foods and “Please… Less stress…” I have obviously digressed in my quest, but enjoyed the journey. And perhaps I do see (in an oblique way)   that I am – as they say at the clinic where I am currently receiving my antibiotic by injection – a fragile flower. More importantly, it is OK to be a fragile flower.

Walking Iris (fragile flower) 067 (768x1024) (2)