Posts Tagged ‘aging’

OLIVIA: ESSENCE OF SPRING

April 6, 2014

Olivia's Direct Gaze 021 (744x1024) (2)

Olivia came to see me on a Saturday

and charmed me with her beauty…

She woke me from my weekend lethargy,

reminding me of life’s delights.

Olivia, My Sweet... 026 (1024x683) (3)

“Inhale the spring, my nanny darling.

Taste the joys of being alive.

Surrender to vitality,

to promising abundance everywhere you look.”

Olivia (The Beauty) 042 (682x1024) (2)

Promising abundance is Olivia

and through my camera I partake.

I absorb her speaking and her laughter…

and embrace each moment of thoughtful silence.

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Olivia illuminates my darkness…

brings living color to my world…

Olivia (Goddess of Spring) 062 (1024x811) (2)

And best of all,

Olivia brings love….

Livvy's Visit - Happy Us 056 (683x1024) (3)

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ALL FALL DOWN

February 12, 2014

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Before I fell out of my chair watching Downton Abbey,

I photographed pink clouds rising from a falling sun.

I swirled my hips to Persian music

as my hands made intricate circles above my head.

Before I fell

my dance was telling me stories of my healing body.

Hope bloomed in my mind

the way pink clouds bloom from a falling sun.

I did have a fall as I rose from my chair two Sundays ago, and managed to stay in denial until Friday. Though I felt that things were not right, I managed to function normally until small signals turned into excruciating spasms of pain. No more denial. Back on the pain medication through the weekend to ward off spasms and relax my anxious mind. On Monday my doctor found no broken bones on the x-rays, and surmised from testing my arm and gauging my pain that I could have a tear. Yet, together we decided against an MRI: We both knew that I was not a good candidate for another surgery. We decided that rest, medication and a return to rehab after a week was the best way to go.

So today I find myself surrendered again…to one day at a time as free of expectations as I can be. Well…I may allow myself just one pink cloud of hope

THE DYING LIGHT

January 27, 2014

Sculpted by The Dying Light...Tree Flight 006 (1024x743) (2)

I had turned away

from the sun-kissed water

of late afternoon

to follow familiar walkways

back to my car.

I had no expectation

of sculpted light…

of tree in flight…

of tree-bird-light-flight.

I had forgotten

the power of the dying light.

As I near the end of the day that is my life on this earth, it is tempting to forget that this is the time when the light intensifies…offering magical moments to those who will see and believe. When I am open, I know that the things I see and record by drawing, sculpting, painting, or taking photographs are showing me who I am. The simple occupations of life are also capable of this. Since a few days after my surgery I’ve been going to rehab three afternoons a week. When it began I felt much diminished by my helpless right arm. Except for excruciating pain, it seemed to have died on me. It took surrendering to a sensitive and talented therapist to open my mind to the potentiality of healing. David has coached me through three months of hard work and tears, small victories and triumphant smiles. He has been patient, demanding, and encouraging. On Wednesday, he was back after an absence of two weeks, and I rejoiced to show him my progress…lifting both arms above my head like a proud child…taking in his unreserved pleasure and accepting his challenge of new exercises and heavier weights.

I think now of how different these exercises are from the nature-influenced exercises I practiced and taught for so many years.  Airth worked with gravity, yielding heavily that I might rise in an effortless way. Everything flowed. Yet, at rehab, I stand straight as a soldier, gather strength and push my way upward through the resistance in my shoulder and bicep. It is hard work and it hurts. These sessions remind me more of my early years in Ballet: The straight body with its unnatural turn out of the hip from which the leg must lift high and be held aloft.  That, too, was grueling hard work and pain was an essential part of each day. Then, too, the moments of brief triumph brought forth a child-proud smile in response to my teacher’s affirmation. I felt the years collapse as I left my session/class and began the drive home. I was still the young dancer smiling at small victories.

So what does this have to do with the magical hour before the end of day? Well, perhaps the whole day is contained and released in the hour before night falls; the whole life is contained and released in the latter years of our lives. If we will, we have access to every experience, idea  and emotion we have ever known.

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Going home

I took the less traveled route

and beheld

in an inner harbor inlet

a concentration of herons.

On this day of frigid winds

and low temperatures

the birds had found shelter.

I had found confirmation:

for the many were one

as the sun subsided.

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Camera in hand

I prayed with the herons…

one with the dying light.

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I was ready to accept the approach of night.

DRAGONFLY SONATA

August 24, 2013

Dragonfly on Ladder 012 (1024x987) (2)A Dragonfly makes silent music

and yet I have heard it for all of my days.

As a dancing child,

I followed its lilting tune…

it’s arabesque of flight.

My imagination

attached pearlescent wings

to the angular blades protruding

from my childish back.

Loud and clear, the whirring duet

we played together

accompanied our dips and rises,

loops and hoverings.

Our landings were a crescendo

that no else could hear.

Dragonfly on Rocks 014 (1024x767) (2)During my middle years,

the Dragonflies’ song was an invitation

to engage in a passionate pas de deux…

et trois, et quatres.

Love is the dance I mean

in its various guises.

Harmonies and disharmonies

were interwoven.

I often wept as we flew.

Entranced by the multitudinous mating dance

accomplished in mid-air,

my lover of the moment –

sharing my bliss –

 heard the melting notes of a cello,

and I fell with him into the wet grass

forgetting the dragonflies.

Dragonfly on Trash Can 015 (1024x791) (3)Now as I listen

for the very last movement

of this long sonata,

the dragonflies seem scarce…

their music not easily heard.

When I see one,

my old heart still rouses

at the longed for opportunity

to join the dance again.

Yet these days

even the dragonfly’s flight

seems more labored than before.

The soaring notes of childhood

are simply not there;

the sensuous drawn out love-dance

is a vague and uncomfortable memory.

Now the weighted silence

of the solitary diva

is profoundly beautiful…

 though dying out.

Thoughts on The Edge

March 16, 2013

Old Music Dog - Walking The EdgeI am thinking of

endings and beginnings,

of old dogs walking the delicate path

between here and nowhere:

thinking of loss

of living with loss

and the loss to come…

the sorrow and joy of it all.

Dewberry Flowers 032 (1024x768) (2)I am thinking of

dewberry flowers in virginal white

smiling radiantly up

at the giant bending over them:

thinking of life

so briefly bestowed,

of fragile beauty relinquished

that lush sweet berries

may form, ripen, and be eaten by

whoever may come.

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I am thinking of

life and death and

the tremulous place between:

of the beauty, the pleasure,

the sorrow of knowing that

all this will end,

or seem to end.

Dead Heron on East Beach 079 (1024x768) (2)I am thinking of

walking down toward the water’s edge

on the beach I visit each day,

of watching the dogs move ahead of me

toward the shore:

thinking of

coming across the remains of beauty,

air, earth, and sky embodied…

now come to this.

I am thinking of

walking around the dead bird,

taking in the somber reality of

death and the inevitability of change:

thinking of

old dogs so close to the edge…

still dancing.

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The “Limited” Dance

September 20, 2011

For much of last week I was having a problem with my right knee. It would catch occasionally with a slight pain resulting. I paid little attention, attributing it to the vaguaries of aging. But on Sunday it became extremely temperamental, hindering walking. Pain would be sudden and occasionally excruciating. Something seemed to be out of place so that bending or straightening the leg could bring it on, but it was unpredictable; I could be walking mindfully with the dogs when suddenly it would balk – freeze for a moment before grudgingly letting me move forward.

All day I struggled against my sense of limitation, pushed aside my thoughts of the knee replacement surgery that my sister and brother underwent. The dancer in me rebelled against that possibility. Yet the dancer in me also recognized the importance of listening to the body. The dancer and the teacher of the dance has learned to embrace and work with limitations.

At some point in the afternoon the struggle was replaced with the knowlege that if I was alive I could dance. I sat down at the keyboard – set the record – and began to play. It was amazing; my whole being was in my hands, passionately affirming life, feeling, movement. I was pouring forth – allowing the extreme intensity that is usually curbed these days.

After that first piece, I rose, played it back, and sought to dance. At first It felt right, reflective of my experience at the keyboard, but the knee reacted – not ready for the abandon that my soul so craved. I surrendered, making a smoothie and taking the dogs for a ride in the car and a gingerly walk.

But the dance wasn’t over, and when I did return to it, I decided to “limit” movement as far as legs and feet were concerned. I focused all my attention on torso and arms, aware that my core had been sadly neglected of late. I encouraged its total response to the music: terribly, wonderfully aware of the power being released, letting it build, but simultaneously containing it. The result was surprisingly muscular in effect ( I have been feeling flacid and ineffective). Suddenly, my hands were vibrating, fingers trembling with the force of my torso’s activity and strength. I did gradually allow a little more movement. I managed to move to the floor and up again without protest from the knee. I seem actually to have given the knee what it wanted: a consciously active torso – core-strength that it could depend on during the dance of life. Pray God I can sustain this understanding, and continue to work with my limits to expand my dance.

Since that miraculous Sunday, I have felt less hindered by the human processes I face and extremely thankful for the lessons that come my way. I know… It is only two days since that rapturous affirmation of the life-force. I will surely weaken and require another visitation by Grace. Even so, in this moment another image from my past comes to my awareness. I shall post it to remind myself of what is possible.

Recalling Fierceness

September 11, 2011

In a time when clearly expressing my own truth  eludes me, I return to this photograph of my younger self. I see in her the fierce will of a warrior angel. Conviction and determination fuel her passion and drive her dance. No hesitation is allowed; she has no time for second guessing every gesture. How I long to feel again this glorious stance – to embody again the spiritual purpose of my existence!

The writing of this post was interrupted. Yesterday’s outcry was set down but abruptly set aside as I went into mother mode, perhaps too easily for my own good. Yet I trusted what I had written – trusted that last sentence to go forth as a heartfelt prayer. I meant what I wrote, and had the completion of the post to look forward to – today.

So here I am, disappointed that yesterday’s glimpse of focused energy and potential seems to have slipped away. It is almost painful to sit here, hitting the keys with obedience, while something is lacking – braving the truth of the moment whatever the moment contains. Could it be that any attempt to connect with one’s former fiercness can only be shortlived.

I was so young when I danced my Thursday evenings in my studio over Turci’s restaurant in New Orleans. I had my whole life ahead of me, though even then motherhood was the other side of every dance. A particular kind of fierceness was essential  if the dream were to survive the constant claims on my time and energy. I managed it fairly well in those days – lived through the frequent interruptions and turned my own frustrations into a fierce rebound in order to claim the glory of the dance – at least occasionally.

Could it be that at age sixty-seven, I am still programed to the same way of life, yet without the youthful will of my younger self – or the energy? Could it be that after so many years of fighting for opportunities to express the glory of my personal dance, I am simply too tired to remember the stance of the warrior angel?

Dear God, regardless of the years – regardless of my habitual susceptibility to the demands of loved ones, I want to believe again that ferocity is a necessary partner to any successful love-dance. Please help me to recall this truth. Amen…

Out Of The Blue

June 6, 2010

This morning, after days of frequent thunderstorms, I heard no rumbling threat of rain and ventured out. The dogs were happy and co-operative, and I was thankful to be walking on a Sunday when the traffic is less and freedom of movement seems more possible. My mind was hopeful, too – the spirit easier. I was simply a woman taking her dogs for a Sunday walk – certainly not expecting to be hailed from behind. My name rang out, and I turned to see a bicyclist. He wore goggles and helmet and seemed a stranger. But off came the goggles and I recognized the doctor I had visited about two months ago, when my cold was at its worst and Laryngitus had stolen my voice. Right away he began to speak of b-12 shots for chronic fatigue. It was as if this were a continuation of our office visit – as if he had been mulling over my state of health since last we met, except that I was being diagnosed on the side of the road on a Sunday morning. Did he seek me out? By now the dogs had lain down as though in cahoots with the earnest doctor. He wasn’t done yet. Seeing that I was receptive to the possible benefits of b-12 shots, he carefully brought up the possibility of depression as a cause of fatigue. He had noticed, himself, that getting older was hard to cope with, and honestly, there were some gentle drugs that could help. All of this could have been very bizarre, or even offensive, except that I trusted the moment, believed in the strangely intuitive powers of of this surprising man. He was as though delivering a message, and once he was satisfied that I had received it, he could go on is way. When  at last I said I would come by his office this week, he took his leave – peddling off slowly down the road.

I was left to resume my own way. The dogs were ready. But I was affected by the encounter – made vulnerable by having been cared about. I walked and pondered the fact of my aging and my obvious resistance. I remembered last night’s attempts to dance full out to chopin – my longing and frustration at my body’s limitations. And into my mind came the truthful wailing of my youthful heart. ” I still want to dance as I used to dance! I want to feel that old joy of moving fiercely, fearlessly through space, of being transformed by my love of the dance and sharing that love! I still want to dance…” But that last cry was tired and sad, and the sorrow made tears that couldn’t be shed on a Sunday morning walk on a public road. Fortunately, Music chose this moment to deal with his doggie business. It was time to pull out one of the scented bags that I carry for just such a moment. Isn’t life wonderful?

Gravity

February 18, 2010

Again the sadness… And again the reluctance to write this blog. I am also exhausted from yesterday’s grandmothering, and don’t really want to try to figure out why.  I want to bless it and move beyond.  Yet I find myself wondering if the expenditure of energy for child – for children – has been going on so long that I think no other way is possible.  Has this become my main purpose? Have I finally given up on personal fulfillment? Do I stil feel as though I am stealing moments for creative pursuits? Now that I do have more time, I am am lacking in energy and will – depressed, almost, by time speeding by, running out as I bumble my way through the days.  I still feel on call, as I did as a young mother, struggling  to keep the dance alive. But then, the fire of determination was fiercely present, and the discipline established during the pre-motherhood ballet years kept me going. I evolved the “barre” to suit a more free-form style of dancing – and maintained the daily exercises no matter what, even if it was often only in my mind. I became a mother at the age of twenty-one, so for most of my life I have juggled my need to create with the necessities of motherhood. I suppose I do not know any other way, but, dear God, I am tired.

It has been a balancing act, and at certain times I have felt successful. As a younger woman, I was idealistic, even conceiving of a purposeful way: a technique to follow and to teach that would balance divergent forces and lead to greater freedom. This was Airth, based on the balancing forces of air and earth, breath and body, spirit and matter. I maintained my faith and devotion for a great many years, and during those years the dance expanded into various other forms of “dance”. I realized Airth through writing, drawing, sculpting, painting, and  music. These later developments have definitely eased my way into my senior years – taken the strain off the body while continuing to fulfill my need to dance. But, there may be a down side to this. The physical dance – performing and teaching – connected me with others on a regular basis, whereas, all the other forms are practiced in solitude. Isolation becomes a way of life, except when it comes to family. And family doesn’t give a damn if I ever dance another dance. They love the me they see – expecting participation regardless. One can be crying inside for a different sort of interraction: that which can only take place between peers. Yet one can continue to play the part of sister, mother, grandmother, and cousin, and no one knows or cares. One is accepted exactly as one is, and lacking challenge, the dancer begins to die. Tired as I am, I don’t really want her dead.