Have you ever seen
in your life
than the way the sun,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone--
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance--
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love--
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world--
or have you too
Before, during, after
The third pic shows how straight my hair is after Mary gave it the Pravana Perfection Smooth Out treatment. It was a trade, so I’ll be rolling her next week and a few times after (we’re doing hour for hour, and this took three) — and actually she wanted me to be a guinea pig for her to sell it to clients. She said it’s safer/lower cost and fewer chemicals than others, and works pretty well. My hair is way less frizzy when I let it air dry, and when I flat iron, as I did yesterday, it’s got a much nicer feel to it.
As she worked, I kept catching my resting face in the mirror and noticing how much older I look. I’m fine with it — it was just what I was seeing, and as I said to her, as I age, I just don’t want to be an eye-sore. Which I said laughing at the sound of it, and the way it came out, we both were doubled over. Context.
But it’s true, and as I explained, I find it kind of annoying when people clearly project an attitude that they don’t care about their appearance. If you care nothing about the outside, it can only be a reflection about the inside. I guess you can make an argument that it’s the opposite, but when you meet *that* person, their inner work projects outward anyway, and we’re attracted to them in a way that sees beyond the outside.
And that’s why when you meet someone older, who projects an inner loveliness, an older man or woman who still puts effort into his or her dress and style, we’re more open to their wisdom. They show us they’ve got something special to share. It’s not superficial, it’s just human nature.
At any rate, I’ll continue to try not to be an eyesore myself, working inwardly even more than outward appearance — and most importantly, keep posting pics where the light is angled just right, so you can’t see my age quite so much!
It rained last night, a sudden thunderstorm that brought a sheeting downpour loud on the metal roof of the porch. Pretzel took his place under our bed, Beeker tried to brave it out, though the loudness always seems to confuse him slightly in his stoicism.
I took the photo above of the garden yesterday. Cukes (Armenian), soybeans and a bunch of tomatoes. My yoga teacher and our friend Surdasji is taking guitar lessons from Kyle and in turn has given us beautiful greens from his garden with Vajraji, along with the tomato, cucumber and cilantro seedlings now growing tall in our garden.
Kyle’s care in our yard reaches upward in the form of hundreds of plants, this lovely connection of life giving life. And now in our fourth year living in this house, we are surprised each spring when the scrubby winter ground gives birth to so much green, sparking memories of the sprouts we’d forgotten. Ginger lilies, hyacinths, mint (so much mint), comfrey, yarrow, Russian sage, walking onions, echinacea, strawberries, chives, lantana, hibiscus, Skullcap.
At the end of each season I can’t bare to think about its return. But by the time it’s upon us I’m ok with it. I can only think of the fall show in terms of theory, but its actual presence in the surrounds of a chilly day, when the yard is growing brown and thin again and the length of the days has waned makes me bristle. So I focus on the creation of the piece and the movement. Which is what I’m going to work on today with Ann.
Our piece will open the show, and set off, we think, the elements of light and dark — vampires who’ve come to terms with what they are and accepted it, and those who still resist. I’m not sure which is which, and that, I think gives layers to each. We each encompass both, don’t we?
Last night before the rain there was a cacophony of bird screams outside the kitchen window along the side of the house. We could see a cat in the thicket and knew before Kyle went outside what to expect. We don’t like that the feral cats kill the birds, and I still feel awful about an incident last year, when we saw a chipmunk pull itself out from under the shed and take its final tiny breaths, after I’d seen a mother cat drag it there for her kittens the day before.
But just as life gives life, it takes life. It doesn’t work any other way. And when I see humans as a part of this chain, as part of the cruel natural world, I guess I take some solace in what I generally perceive as our hideous darkness. Down to the cellular level we are constantly living and dying, organisms come and go in less than the blink of an eye. And we have no idea what happens to that energy as it transforms from this realm that we see to another that we don’t. Only that by what science tells us, energy can’t be extinguished, only changed.
Our lightness and darkness, life and death, are just a flash of the same thing. I don’t know that I’ll get my head around that in this lifetime, but to at least be able to call it to mind helps me get through the darkness. Just as last night’s thundering rainstorm has given way to a cloudless blue sunny morning.
The Aging Aerialists
That’s me, Annette and Allyson in the last Canopy show in April. We’re 45 (46 next month), 50 and 47 respectively.
It was a kickass piece, based on the French trilogy of films, Trois Coloeurs (theme of show was movies) and feedback included words like “sophisticated,” “mature” and “a work of art” — high praise coming from either your peers or people who’ve seen a thousand Canopy shows.
We felt about the same as we do with most pieces, too close to it to know how it translated, but glad it made a good impression. It was hard as hell since we incorporated some new ways of moving (ie vertical momentum/breakbeat climbs/never-before-performed tricks that were beasts to pull off without a hitch), and I haven’t been that sick-to-my- stomach nervous about performing a piece in awhile.
Pushing ourselves is part of what makes us grow, though, right? And facing your fears. I did so every time I looked up at Big Bleu, as I named that gorgeous thick and stretchy length of silks. It belongs to Annette and I am now madly in love with it for getting me through that show.
Right now, though, Annette, who’s a vet tech by day, is really sick with some kind of tick disease (she’s had 7 tick bites so far this year, she said, either as a result of working on animals or being outside — girlfriend never wears shoes and loves the outdoors). She said for the three main tick diseases, the treatment is the same, so she hasn’t found out which she has (Lyme, Anaplasmosis or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), but she’s having awful fevers. I’m going to see her today and drop off some soups and liquids. She said she can’t eat right now.
And Allyson is dealing with an autoimmune, it seems, and was in tears last night with the frustration of trying to figure out what it is and having to do an elimination diet. She only weighs about 100 pounds to begin with, and as it is for me, eating is already a challenge because we’re home so little. She has the added challenge of living alone. And I know when Kyle’s out of town, I eat out of bags and cans and jars. My heart was breaking for her last night.
Not that these things alone are symptoms of the aging aerialist, but we were laughing a few weeks ago when our friend Nicole visited. She’s a former Rep member/founding member of Canopy (with me and six others under Susan), who opened her own studio about 8 or 9 years ago in Atlanta, called D’Air. She’s a few years younger than me, but you know. At this point, that ain’t that young.
To preface, Nicole is and always has been the strongest and most in-shape aerialist I know (a few people come close, but Nic is a serious badass). But she was rolling around on the floor pushing the end of one of those S-shaped back thingies (are they really called Backnobber?) into her hip and making funny faces (we were laughing about all of this), and talking about all of her body issues. Then a little while later, we were saying how hard it is to remember some of the complicated tricks. She said she taught her teens something and a month later couldn’t remember it at all. We were cracking up at how far we’ve come, from being so into performing and learning and growing to put it all out there in a show, to now, for me at least, doing it all as an exercise in challenging myself.
I’d so much rather let my students perform than do it myself. But if I stop learning, if I stop pushing, what will I have to share with them? Teaching now is my greatest joy, and being able to watch my students grow and change by the day is an incredible gift I’ve been given. Especially my little ones.
At some point I really will have to stop — though Susan is still going, and will be 67 thus summer — so who knows how long it will be for any of us. But I hope to have collected enough in my body by that point to feel truly sated, to know that I gave it my all and didn’t just quit because I was too lazy to perform anymore (I could SO go that route). But for now, I feel pieces squirming in my limbs, patiently awaiting their moment, and best of all, those deeply moving and intimate chances to dance with people I love, to create something together with our company that is a work of art, in which each of us becomes part of something greater than ourselves.
What Canopy has brought to my life, and I know I speak for all of us when I say this, is immeasurable. I am humbled to my knees with gratitude for this. And I’ll take it all with whatever it brings, as this body changes and ages and decides on its own how much it can do and how far it can go.
Last night Alli-o and I worked on the piece we’ve been teaching our intermediate Thursday class. It’s a fun challenge. I so love teaching with her again.
Time moves in mysterious ways. Because even when most people say how time is flying, and I get that, to me it definitely feels like 10 years ago that we originally were teaching that first class — with April and Julia and I can’t remember who else was in it — together. So much has happened and changed since then.
Just six or eight months ago, she and I were frustrated because neither of us had much trapeze vocabulary in our bodies — at least not all the new stuff we were seeing in the studio.
It’s nice to be in a new place. Cyclical. Always.
So as it turns out, it’s all too appropriate that the next Canopy Rep show will be a Theater of Vampires — in which bats figure in prominently. Bats, Ann told me this morning, have glittery poop (they say sparkly, we say glittery).
Found these great shelves on craigslist (been looking at them for about three weeks) and finally bought them yesterday for $65 from a very stylish and cute girl who lives in Whitehall Mill Lofts. They’ve freed up space in the yoga room for the little table that did house the Buddha and his accouterments so that can now be a much-needed resting place for keys and belongings of occasional clients and friends who I work with here.
Sara Spurlock’s gorgeous artistry in our handmade costumes for the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” sirens piece from Canopy’s Aerial Theater 3000 show, April 13-15, 2014. That’s me in the middle with Rabun (left) and Amber. Love working with them so much. And Amber is about the strongest partner I’ve worked with. She’s a hoss! With a feminine body, no less. Total girl crush.