Monday, March 16, 2009

Picking up the threads

I just watched the DVD of Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers and Tides with both my parents. I had the idea when I saw it first, last week with friends in New Mexico, that I'd like to share it with my parents, so I went ahead and ordered it from Amazon even though it's not necessarily 'their kind of thing'; and one of the very reasons I wanted them to see it was also what made me a bit nervous about showing it to them, namely that one of its subjects is death, as part of the flow and river of life. Both Mother and Dad were spell-bound throughout; surprisingly Mother was more unqualified in her appreciation, while Dad found it 'strange' as well as beautiful and restful.

I just find it inspiring. Goldsworthy has such a gift of taking his work seriously with no trace of self-importance. Some of his work blends so seamlessly and beautifully into its natural surroundings; and some is startling, jarring, almost garish, even though all the materials originate right there, as part of those surroundings. The extreme temporariness of some pieces highlights the impermanence of everything, even stone. The movement of water, air, and more solid things under the influence of water and air, echos the movement going on inside my body, makes me feel I am dancing. Goldsworthy's presence as he is working or talking to the camera is also a thread or river of awareness, visible in his eyes and felt in the sometimes hesitant, slow flow of his words. The camera also being the thing that makes it all possible: the recording eye preserving fragile moments of beauty.

Mean while I've been improvising the slow flow of my life: washed up here again in Pennsylvania where spring is barely hinting its arrival: snowdrops blooming among grass still brown from frost; since Portland, and snow, and five weeks of intensity, group process, my own issues, acquiring a new family of friends while re-connecting with decades-old threads of my past, circling back twenty years and more even while breaking new ground; then visiting cousins, old lovers, old and new colleagues, new friends, including landscapes that have been in my dreams for thirty years, in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Marin County; then on to New Mexico, meeting old friends in a new place, greedy for the spiritual experience of the desert and the mountains, as the weather veered from dry and warm, to blizzards of snow.

Circling back here to the house where I grew up, and to a weekend of rare contact with my two sisters, the three of us sharing and exchanging experiences, memories, dynamics, feelings, late into the night and then out for a walk the next morning, re-balancing, sensing our three individual personalities, distinct, related.

So I am needing to land here a bit longer, to sort out my impressions and my ever-expanding luggage, focus on where I am going and what I am doing on the way... and adjust to the fact that all the things I thought I was doing in March and April--rehearsals, shamanic darkness retreat--
turn out not to be happening after all, so I am freer even than I thought, with the challenge of freedom within travel bookings, coping with luggage and instruments, conscious of how I keep constructing my own constraints, my own parameters, working to allow myself both to discover, and to do, what it is I most want and need to do. How much structure, how much movement, how much solitude, how much community, what are my responsibilities, what are my potentials. Where are my dreams pointing. What circles need completing, what possibilities are calling. Where does spirit lead.

Yes: what new adventures in dreamtime? What is the work that needs doing now?

More soon...

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