Grey light, slight chill but spring softness. The green fuzz is happening on the trees, so exciting. Three of the four of us are in the east: Sara is in NY state and tarin and I are in Vermont. Yesterday, I moved with tarin again who grabbed hold of my slightly reaching hand as I passed by.
I start with Eno/Budd’s the Pearl. A shape emerges that I don’t think I have ever taken – straddle legs in a semi-second position, plie, torso over towards the floor, arms shooting behind me, head turned so ear is towards the floor. If I have been in this shape before, I have no memory, or maybe it is what I bring to the shape that makes it feel new. What follows is a series of gestures and carvings that surprise me: hand flat palm to the earth, repeatedly approaching my mouth over and over until it gently touches, rather like a strange salute gone awry.
After this first sequence, I lose attention, all else seems a struggle, and I do not want to do this any more. Interesting for me those times when discouragement can creep in. However, lately, I am not interested in berating myself. Maybe it is a day that I find only one pleasing sequence. So what. No one but myself is judging me. Therefore, I stop.
A grey day, 40, raw…light rain/mist. The wood stove keeping the house warm. I think of tarin and Bonnie who are together this weekend, and Sara at workshop in Burlington. For several days, my hip has been bothering me.
Put on Steve Reich’s Drumming in honor of his recent Pulitzer for music and because I love his music. Starting off, a little bubble of syncopation erupting, measuring the space around me, the feelings in me, taking the temperature of the “water”. This expands and expands with potent pauses. I let is ripple out of my body, my imagination. I hear my breath coming in the syncopated tempo that I am moving to, letting it fly for 15 minutes. I then go to the floor and rest in CRP and think about the music that is awash over my body and think of you three.
I start by divesting myself of shoes, brace and stockings. What a feeling of freedom! Then for the first time, all my love and greetings are sent in one direction, – East. I sit for some time with my eyes semi-closed, and then my hands started brushing the tops of my thighs, at first lightly, then more heavily, which leads to my standing and slowly, of course, circling my chair. The next thing I know I was straddling it, sitting down delighting in the novelty of it but not remaining very long because of discomfort. I moved around my chair thinking of you all doing the same and happy in the thought. I am wearing my bear T-shirt today.
It is overcast today. It rained thoroughly last night. This morning I was in the woods digging trillium, black and blue cohoshes, maidenhair, jack-in-the-pulpits, little woods violets lavender and yellow, then transplanted them by the house. What a delicious time of year!
Sara is flying west and north today, back to the little island of Sitka, so I will work to Eno’s Music for Airports (and Apollo as a backup in case I go wild.) I begin by “washing” my face and shoulders with hands, twisting up like a corkscrew, and then unwinding. My arms beat the air low down. Later, the arms are raised, beating the air, and then over the head.
I think of tarin and the worlds she is headed for beyond this one, and bath in the memory of this past Friday. Tarin, Bonnie, Sara and I are at the grey building. I witness you three moving, magnetically drawn to each other, resting in laps, in contact with head, feet, hands, legs, breath swirling about like ground-hugging clouds after a storm.
I am sitting on the plane at 8am EST. I started out at 6am on one plane than moved to another then moved back to the original plane. They say the mechanical problem is fixed. We all wonder, “Is it?” I sit, eyes closed and go into my body. It is still, yet little pockets of anxiety hover around. I immediately come back to the body. Breathe. I start with little toe dances then move up the legs into the pelvis. I open my eyes and notice the person next to me looking at me. I just close my eyes and continue only to be interrupted by another announcement that we have to exit the plane. I get off and go to the ticket counter noticing my breath, I am anxious. Now I know I will not make my connection. I cannot sit, I pace and come back to my body and breathe. So much for my practice…. I notice other people’s response to the delays and the anxiety and worry. I am told that the best thing for me to do is stay here another day that the probability of getting to Seattle is nil. I say to myself, “keep on moving Sara,” so I get on the plane to Newark. I resume my seat dance, imperceptible movements; don’t want to shock the neighbor!
It was overcast this morning with a light rain – great for gardening. Now it is sunny and the birds are singing. I have a witness.
Paul Dresher’s “This Same Temple” accompanies quietly. Start CRP position, resting, breathing, feet towards northwest. From this comes quick contracting sharp efforts rolling, balancing on my side, feet, hands, body reflect the effort. I spiral, change directions on getting up, going back down, working to stand, falling, backwards etc hinges up and down, curious about the pathways to standing. Travel a bit, grab leg, and blow through hands up to the sky. Am I making sound or just moving air? Return to the floor, scratch my head, and stroke my arm, leg. Upright again and hanging over, scribing an arc with my right arm fingertips from front all the way around to the back. The back of my hand ends up in touch with my heel. Feet/hand closeness. End up in CRP in the same place as began. I am done.
I take a break and write a bit, then talk with witness.
Second piece: Move towards witness, gestural, slow, deciding I will end when I turn around. I spend much time balancing on my right leg, gesturing into the right space so that the right side of the room becomes dominant. As I close in on where she is sitting, I turn to stand with my eyes closed. I am done. We speak about the challenge to really look at the witness while moving. Therefore, each time I want to look for a bit longer or more often, play with the territory of what it is like.
I am living in such light now, though it is grey outside. 18 hrs plus of daylight! As I start, I ask where is bear. This is the first time bear is not in the room. I go to the floor, no music today, struck by the weight in my body, back supported by the earth. I roll over to crawl. I bend an elbow and lean on my forearm and on one knee as my foot is free and other leg is dangling in the air. I stay there, stay, just stay. My other hand is on the floor rubbing. Tarin comes to mind, her gestural movements. I am reminded of the gift of what I now call “challenging inconveniences,” times when I really did not want to be there but did anyway and learned from it! I am not sure why those words popped into my head but they are here.
My body falls to the floor, am lying on my back again, aware of the weight of my arms, specifically my hands. They feel as if they were cement! I lie for a very long time, noticing the weight in my body, enjoying the sensation. This is new for me; the length of time feels endless. I think of tarin again and how her time is not endless, it is determined by her illness. I call bear, who comes in and sits in front of me. There is not much movement flowing today. I accept it, stand and start moving furniture!
I have felt “off” these last two days, adjusting to being back here in Sitka.
Much family these past weeks. But here I am back in my sunny bedroom greeting you three. I feel both sorrow and gratitude toward my weakened right leg and spent some time caressing and thanking it for putting up with all my activities. Then I proceed to put it through some more as I hobble through my paces. Last night I dreamt that I was whole again and walking normally. It was such a vivid dream that I expected to stride confidently out of bed but….
May 25 at 4:45am tarin dies.
In Burlington at my old studio, I am suddenly cold, take a coat with wooly lining and collar from the rack and tie a scarf around my head to get warm. I lie down on the floor curled up and cry. I begin to sing with my crying, a rough sound from my full throat. My left hand sweeps back and forth on the floor with my singing which sounds like chanting. I growl and shout into the sadness. I tap my fingernail against the oh-so-familiar floor. (How many times I have lain on it, wept into it, been filled with joy on it?)
Some time is spent exploring the left hand and its range of motion, all the while curled up on my right side in the coat and scarf. The gestures get more vigorous and take me onto my hands and knees.
I move about the somewhat cluttered x-studio, moving like the black bear that came to visit last Friday. I feel Sara’s movement in my body along with his – the heaviness in the front quarters, the flex at the wrist, the standing still, the nose, the lumbering, the solo-ness of him. I am crying as I move like the bear and as I write about it. Even though the time was shorter, it feels full and right.
Morning light greets me.
I decide no music today. I begin with the saying “you can meet your own needs.” I think of this as I am beginning to move. I have everything I need.
I call forth the bear. It sits close next to me, moves with me, we move with the grace of our power. I start on the ground, growling guttural sounds. My hands are like claws in space, fighting what, defending what? My toes curl in the reflexive act of defense.
The tension in my hands softens as they move towards my face. My legs soften and stretch out. I rock back and forth. My hands are at my mouth…paws of a kitten, softly speaking. I flip over to child’s pose; reach my hands out one after the other searching. I start to cry, “I want to go home.” I cry louder and deeper. I soften, my crying stops. I am here, this is my home, inside me, no matter where I am it is home.
I stand…start big gestures of scooping with my arms, down to the floor and up again circling back and arching, opening, over and over and over. It transitions into little jumps side to side as my hands reach palm down to touch the floor; right, left, right, left. This takes me into several minutes of this back and forth.
Alone in my sun-drenched bedroom, divested of my leg brace, shoes and knee socks, I sit in my chair and send greetings to you both and think of tarin. She is released from
pain. I sit quietly, my thoughts wander until my body begins to twitch a little and I find myself nodding. This leads to wordless expression with each limb–my head nods, shakes, listens- my hands beckon, repulse, wave, admonish, clasp, pull, protect, hide, offer, repel— my feet stamp, kick, point, grind, –we really don’t need speech all that much!