Hand-Thrown Pot

brad 1This is a piece of pottery made at the Arkansas Arts Center by my friend Brad.  He was a multi-talented fellow, potter and a good ballet dancer.  He and I danced together several times which was great fun, although I think we made a somewhat odd couple, he being long, tall and lanky, and me…well let’s just say I’m on the short side and willowy is not one of my attributes, despite the expectations for ballet. He was a considerate partner and I enjoyed dancing with him; I always knew he would catch me if I bobbled, important when wearing pointe shoes.

The Arts Center was a marvelous place to work.  I was first hired as an actress in the Tell-A-Tale children’s theater troupe. It was exhausting work – not only did we act (I had 5 cohorts), but we drove from school to school, set up the stage (or lunchroom, or gym or wherever we were assigned), made-up and got into costumes, performed, did a q&a with the students, then broke everything down, including untaping and rolling up the dance floor and DROVE TO ANOTHER SCHOOL. Rinse, repeat, as they say. A little known fact about Little Rock – it was a test case for the first ATMs, and those ATMs saved us actors. The bank was always closed when we were off work…

After Christmas, I was asked to head up a dance company – right up my alley. The Center had a very nice stage, full lighting capability, and ballet classes taught by Manolo Agullo, a Cuban charmer of the old school who was training some decent dancers. I had a blast. So why did I leave? As in many a story, love called in the form of my now-hubby who wanted to be in the movie business.

Manolo is dead. And I’ve lost track of Brad.  But I keep this little pot on the window sill above the sink. I love the delicate crazing, the shape and the reminder it is to me of a very happy time.

brad 2

Tiny Treasures

Tiny flowers and grass under my feet, plus the treasure of a yellow bird. The flower will become a blackberry if there’s enough water. The grass is unknown but ubiquitous, and I think the bird a gold finch.

When I walk in the woods, I have begun looking at my feet. It started because West Virginia is very rocky and you never know when you’ll be tipped over by a hidden bump in the grass. And although I still love looking out over the trees and mountains, I am finding the there are terrific things to see if I focus in.

You have to understand that as a ballet dancer I was trained never to look at my feet. You show your face to the audience, not the part in your hair. This habit had funny consequences on my first trip to Europe. Many of the streets were cobblestones. I didn’t want to look at them when there was so much to see – church towers, castles, history rising up from the ground. With pleasure I looked up, as I had been trained.

My sister, who often walked with me, still tells about how she would be talking to me and suddenly I would disappear. “One minute you were beside me, the next gone. I’d look back and there you were, sprawled on the street.” She refused to walk European style, arms linked, for fear I’d take her down with me.

So much for the grace of a dancer.