Walter & His Models (fall woods behind) 001 (2)

On this day in 1965

my father breathed his last breath

before departing his body

to become the breath we continue to breathe.

It seems strange but in some way fitting that I should wait to do this post until this day. The pot came out of the kiln weeks ago, days after my time at the annex seemed to run out. It is certainly not the best pot done during my sojourn there, but because of the subject matter – my father’s surprising appearance on the pot – I chose to keep it. The time since has been a struggle to adapt to change, to attempt to live well while dealing with the discomfort of transition. Sadness has been part of it. Don’t we all grieve when something is over?

Truthfully, even during my last few weeks at the annex, I had been feeling the urge to grow beyond what I was doing there. I thought to take what I had learned to a whole new level. I had sculpted clay in the past, now there was the potential for expanding that…bringing incising, painting and glazing to the sculptured form. I dreamt of sculpted vessels that might invite the decorative element. But newness can be as frightening as it can be exciting. Thence the struggle…

I think of my father…

of his choice to go it alone…

his need to create and grow so powerful

that he chose to leave his wife and children…

to forego the sweetness of intimate companionship

for the sake of his quest.

He chose suffering along with art and ecstasy:

his suffering and ours.

Fatherhood seems to be

less compelling a force than motherhood.

My mother was an artist, too.

Walter & His Models (detail) 009 (713x1024) (2)

Yet she relinquished all to serve this man:

as wife available to model for the painter

and to share his bed,

as mother to his children while he looked elsewhere…

for that which waited to be translated by his brush.

Walter & His Models (detail) 007 (1024x736) (2)Walter & His Models (detail) 008 (1024x798) (2)Walter loved animals,

and this I understand with all my heart.

But he loved birds more:

their flight, their freedom, their variety.

My father hovered on the outskirts

of my life with mama and my siblings.

When hovering,

one can be ready in an instant to take flight.

I think I understand.

Walter & His Models 005 (673x1024) (2)


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8 Responses to “FAREWELL AGAIN”

  1. Gel Says:

    Hi Leif,
    I appreciate how the transitions overlap….that of your father passing, your remembrance and the transitions in your present.

    Yes: “Don’t we all grieve when something is over”? or at least I hope we all grieve when things are over. Because grieving is a releasing process that helps us move through and beyond. But I don’t know how popular or common or supported it is in our culture to grieve.

    The shape of the vessel is not my favorite of yours but the etchings of your father and the cat and the woman are beautiful as usual. You can convey so much of the story and the feeling through the simple images that you put on your pottery art.

    You seem to have a generous and understanding attitude towards your father. I would think that you – being his little girl – would feel the lack of his precious presence in your life as he followed his calling that resulted in not being there in the home. But you seem to understand, and accept. It sounds like even in the lack there was still a lot that he gave you.

    The way you write has a simplicity in it’s first impact on me. And then upon reflection I see more layers of meaning.

    It sounds like you are not going to be working on pottery-art at the annex (?). I’ll be watching to see what’s next.
    Blessings to you in your transitions.
    (wondering if you are dancing these days?)
    ☆ ♡

  2. leiflife Says:

    Thank you, Gel, for this. I’ve been absent for a while. Hope to catch up soon. But, you may have gathered, things have been rough. Can’t go into it here, but I am on my own for a while. The pots I’ve been posting have not been my shapes. I’ve been decorating what was available to me, mostly pots made from molds made eons ago. One reason I am moved to make my own shapes to decorate… But it is a big job to take on at my age. I am working on my first sculpted vessel now…much more organic than at the annex. Perhaps soon it will be the subject of a blog post.

    As for my father, certainly his absence and his uneasy presence have had their effect upon my life, but I have had many years to learn from him and to heal from him. In 2005 I had a book published by University Press of Mississippi: DANCING WITH MY FATHER. It chronicles my journey of healing. Of course, healing is never over.
    I, too, have had to cope with depression. Bless you for writing of it honestly and in positive ways.

    I do dance a little every evening…probably not enough. I love your way of committing to five minutes of moving meditation every day. Love your faith that it is enough.

  3. Gel Says:

    Sounds like you have done a lot of learning and healing around your father stuff.

    I don’t feel that five minutes of moving meditation is enough. It’s just that committing to at least 5 minutes of it each day is essential. Not enough. I have a lot of inspiration for dance in so many ways. A lot that doesn’t get manifested. I used to love choreography and working with groups leading movement and creating contexts for them to discover their dancer within…..I guess that with depression that is the sad thing about it for me – is that I get cut off from the dance. So if I can move/dance at least a tiny bit a day it keeps the door open and more dance seems more possible.

  4. dogkisses Says:

    Lovely story of the vase, and your father. So much acceptance and love for him, and the vase is beautiful!

  5. papgitta Says:

    Wonderful. Would be nice a FB option in order to share, of course if it is not against the artist.

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