Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal) 027 (1024x615) (2)

I believe in flow.

Flow has been at the heart of my life as a dancer.

If dance has been like a river flowing

throughout my life,

changing times and an aging body

has caused the river to branch into tributaries

of poetry, clay sculpture, drawing and music.

Singing has had its turn

and painting, too,

to flow around obstacles created by doubt.

Doubt has often loomed heavily,

obscuring the way,

and times of despair have caused drought.

My progress has stalled…

bogged down in the muck;

my heart feels dry and my world

appears colorless for a while.

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal) 023 (1024x646) (2)

Recently, decorating pottery in the Shearwater annex

has brought flow and color back to my life.

I have found renewal in the clay:

the feel, look, smell of this earthy substance

has grounded my body…

revived my heart.

My right arm –

stalled by extensive and painful surgery –

has grown strong and brave,

and has carried out my purpose

of resuming the flow.

The river of dance –

still present in my seventy-year-old being –

has formed yet another tributary.

Praise heaven and all the angels:

I am able to bring color to my world!

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal),Green Heron, Ohr 028 (1024x615)

As my confidence has grown in the present flow, I have pondered sculptural shapes: free-form vessels formed by my hands, conducive to my particular style of decorating. Not instead of my work at the annex with my dear women companions, but a possible means of growth…a chance to explore. So clay was purchased – and a small expensive kiln. The latter with considerable fear and trembling. At my age you do not take on such things as blithely as when younger. I approached the clay before the kiln was delivered, as tentatively as someone who had never created clay sculptures before. I wedged the clay, slamming it down repeatedly to soften it…bring it to yielding. I felt my shoulder object, and I wondered what I was doing. I felt old and scared: doubt did its damnedest to stop the meager flow that was trickling forth. My hands kept moving: pushing, pulling, stretching and stroking despite the doubt…despite the twinges of pain. I didn’t last long that first session. I wasn’t encouraged by this beginning. I covered her quickly, a bit embarrassed by my efforts. It took a while to return. When I did, I reminded myself that judgment at this point was foolish; completion was so far off, and decorating and firing were more than half of it. I had begun!

A few days later the kiln was delivered from Dogwood Ceramics via movers I had hired. It rode in the back of a truck thoroughly crated in wood. I was daunted, but the movers dealt with it vehemently. Finally the kiln stood on my screen porch where the old non-functioning one had stood for years. But it did not look right. The box on the front: the computer and electrical unit was pulled out, metal bent, screws pulled loose. There was obvious damage. The kiln, expected to contribute to the flow, is itself an obstacle.  A terrible question looms: Who is responsible? Another: Can I keep faith that the river of dance that is my life will maintain its flow. Of course I can… But I might need a boat.


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4 Responses to “FAITH IN THE FLOW”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Here on your behalf is a great cry and a flow of tears as well as the flow through the vessel, the flow into the great flowing. If you have a need to stay positive, I can voice your rage and anger and disappointment for you in a comment. And I do.

    • leiflife Says:

      Dearest Kendall, we have often assisted one another to emotional and spiritual completion. And here you are again as I bumble along, expecting great things of myself (including staying positive), while the great cry and flow of tears is once more offered up by the bestest of buddies. It is a bit late, but I truly thank you.

  2. Gel Says:

    Hi L
    This sharing makes me want to see you dance. (Do I remember correctly that you wrote a book or manual about your dance form Airth? I’d be interested in seeing it. Is it still in print?)

    I did a search on line…..Airth castle in Scotland….hmmm.
    next …..Ok I found it.

    I’m glad you have found many ways to ‘dance’ into balance through writing, and pottery and photography and more.

    That is exciting to hear about you getting a kiln!!!

    I have worked with clay too (many years ago) and enjoyed the sensual earthyness of the process.

    And flow FLOW….I can relate to the central nature of flow in ones life. It seems that that is one of the main components of dance for me.
    Well I look forward to hear about your next phases of working with clay or anything else you do.


  3. leiflife Says:

    Ahhh Gel… Still with me, my distant friend, surprising me again and again with your understanding of my stubborn addiction to flow. Of course it is with us all the time…even as we stumble over life’s obstacles. “…dance into balance.” Oh yes…

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