Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Unbridled Ecstacy

Tuesday early evening. Mike has left for his poker game. Chelsea is alternately lying with her front paws stretched out and crossed daintily in front of her and darting between a game of tag with a moth and scanning the lower gardens from the deck where I sit peacefully observing.

No mowers. No leaf blowers. No airplanes or buses. And especially brilliant, no barking dogs next door. For the past three years the space next door to us, which used to be a wooded lot, has been occupied by a rather unfriendly family and their never, ever silent German shepherds, Grisly and Harley. That's right, not one, but two.

As early as April when we were blessed by the first warm days this year, I began dreading another summer unable to open the windows or dine on the deck. I even began actively searching for get away places to spend July and August, quiet spots where I might be able to read, paint, or write without the constant attack on my nerves.

Not that I wished the family next door any misfortune, just that they'd disappear. You might have heard me yelp with disbelief and pleasure the day in June the for sale sign went up in front of their house. I cautioned myself, "It's a big, big house and their asking price is as big as his ego, so don't expect any action too quickly." And yet, tonight, although the sign is still there, they are gone - moved back to Florida, where they came from and which she loved. I'm so happy for all of us.

The sun is dropping now behind the western trees. The air has lost its almost August edge and a cool breeze is wafting the smell of somebody's grill from somewhere down the ridge. I hear only the rustle of squirrels performing their limb to limb acrobatics. The hummingbirds chiding one another as they hover for position at the sugar water. A mourning dove cooing a soft lullaby. The tap tap of the titmouse determined to open a black oiler. The chirping chorus of four stacked goldfinches swilling nyjer. And finally, the chit, chit of Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal - always the last to feed.

Go ahead, call me anti-social, but these are "my peeps," and in their sweet company, I am once again and always peaceful and delighted.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I thought I had hit the publish button on this post the end of June, the morning after seeing Terpsicorps' most incredible offering to date. The post is late, but the sentiment and message remain sincere.

The lights dim, the red curtains at the jewel box Diana Wortham Theater part. Heather Maloy emerges, her face, neck and shoulders aglow like pale moonlight. Her figure is svelte, belying her “recent new mom” status. The shimmering white gown she wears is made of the pages of romance novels and packing tape and is a forecurser of the costumes in the signature piece of tonight’s ballet, “Reborn.” Heather welcomes us to Terpsicorps’ Tenth Anniversary Season, and while those of us who are loyal fans are anticipating a fine performance, we have no idea the treat ahead.

Heather, Christopher Bandy, her co-choreographer for the evening, and the amazing ensemble of young but seasoned dancers present two hours of entertainment that is diverse, moving and spectacular. The first dance, “Le Suil Go…” (In the Hope that…) is a toe tapping romp to traditional Celtic airs performed by the very live and lively quartet, Michael Bellar, Evan Bivins, Matthew Bivins and Ian Moore. I want to get up and dance myself. Instead, we just tap our toes and clap, during and after the piece.

“Yin/Yang,” concludes the first act with a study in black and white that is both thought provoking and humorous (yin/yang?). It is a world premiere, choreographed by Christopher Bandy with original music composed and performed by Michael Bellar. Totally fulfilling.

The second act is over the top. In addition to dancers whose bodies make me long to be reborn myself, the costumes (by R. Brooke Priddy, Shipto Shore, Asheville) staging, and lighting remind me that I’m in the presence of creative genius.  Believe it or not, this series of vignettes takes us symbolically through the entire life cycle, from death to the womb, to birth, and through several major adult milestones, including four perspectives on love. The first two pieces, “The Journey’s End” and “Birth,” touch me in the core of my body – my heart aches with feelings that are unutterable. Isn’t that what art is all about?

As difficult as it is to describe my emotional reactions, it’s equally difficult to give the costumes and props for the second act their due. If you go, you are sure to be amazed with the way Heather Maloy uses materials to augment the meaning of the dances effortlessly delivered through the dancers’ grace and athleticism. The troupe certainly deserves a shout out of their own. Their flexibility, strength, balance and synchronicity are incredible. And a final word of praise goes to the musicians, who not only compose and play, but also sing and dance themselves quite admirably in a musical prelude to the “Love” vignettes.

If you go? No "if". Whenever Terpsicorps is performing in Asheville or Winston-Salem. Buy your tickets early and go. Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance.

The Attitude of Gratitude

What, worry about age? Not my friend and the Mayor of our fine city, Terry Bellamy. Be inspired, as I was, by her Facebook post last evening.

Terry Bellamy

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes and birthday blessings. I appreciate your sincere acts of kindness. This birthday is very special to me, as this is my last one as Mayor of the City of Asheville.

Today, someone said to me, "I will not ask you your age because I know how women get." I am actually proud to tell my age. I am 41 years old. I was raised by a woman who gave me all that I needed and more than I could ever ask for. I have a dad, sisters and a brother who love me for being me. I have a husband who loves and supports me. I have children and a nephew who unconditionally love and care for me. Countless family members who call me, text me, FB me just to say, "I love You and I got your back." I have true friends who will laugh with me, cry with me and forgive me.

Lastly, I am Mayor of my hometown. My grandmother used to clean the homes of people at Brooks Howell Home and my grandfather worked diligently as a carpenter to provide for their children in this city --the one that I now govern. I could go on, but I won't.

So, if you think I am afraid to tell my age -- your wrong. I am blessed beyond what I could imagine. Thanks for taking the time to read my sentiments, I'm closing with the words from one of my favorite songs -- I Won't Complain, by Paul Jones:

I've had some good days
I've had some hills to climb
I've had some weary days
And some sleepless nights

But when I look around
And I think things over
All of my good days
Outweigh my bad days
I won't complain

Sometimes the clouds are low
I can hardly see the road
I ask a question, Lord
Lord, why so much pain?
But he knows what's best for me
Although my weary eyes
They can't see
So I'll just say thank you Lord
I won't complain.

Good night and God bless!