Contemplative moment at home with Burnsie

Recently I took Anna to the historic Lensic Theatre, just off the Old Plaza in Santa Fe, to see a gala performance of flamenco dancing. I’ve been enthralled by flamenco since watching dancers in Seville, Spain, in 2012. I’m not a ‘dance’ Guy, but there’s something magical about the contradiction between incredibly ‘happy’ feet and faces of defiance. Flamenco is for dancers who are serious — not merely serious about their craft, but serious about the symbolism of their dervish dance. It is a dance which says in every way, “I may bend, but I am not broken! My soul is my Own and I dance my manifesto!”

Rather Scottish Terrier-like, eh? I remember thinking that very thing as I watched dancers in Seville and again as I watched the professional dance performance in Santa Fe.

Flamenco is foot-jazz of defiant ancestors channeled through youth who are old souls. I can’t watch it without thinking of Highland Chieftans and clans, whose will was bent but never broken in Scotland, and who bred unawares into the dog who wears the Motherland’s name those traits of independence, loyalty, and defiant toughness they prized in themselves. There’s something magical in the Scottie ‘dance’ of life, so independent, so self-directed, so defiant of all that would co-opt and un-Scottify them.

Like so much else in my life, a trip to the upscale Lensic Theatre in “The City Different” to watch great flamenco dancing brought home to me rather down-scale truth about the fiercely independent Scotties I love and my own drive to live Life my way.

My new-found love of Flamenco Dance and its subtle analogy to the defiant “perfect imperfections” of the Scottish Terrier, inspired poetry when I came home from Spain in 2012. I share that poem with my blog readers as ladder to new appreciation, perhaps, of the willful little dogs who steal our hearts.

Flamenco dancerFlamenco Dancer

Castilian dervish in painted dress
You spin your tale of life’s duress

In flash of color, stamping feet,
Eyes of love and lust discreet.

Your feet to dance, your heart to God,
You bare your soul in smallest nod,

Turn gesture, act, of frenzied pace,
To tableau of the human race:

From bruis├ęd conscience of Gypsy soul,
To each heart’s protest ‘gainst the toll

Of dark-night grief when God distracted
Abandons Calvary re-enacted;

Protest ‘gainst our angel mud
Which longs to rise a pollened bud

But slouches low our heels to grind
Each other eye-for-eye till blind.

Castilian beauty in painted dress,
You spin a tale of Man’s distress;

Yet dance salvation if we could see:
For wound-turned-beauty is Alchemy

To One-and-All with hearts not hollow,
To One-and-All with feet to follow.

Dance your tale with defiant face;
Morph life’s pain into stunning grace;

Glimpse us Quixote, alive and free!
Dance for all . . .
Dance for Me.

for Anna

Quiet moment at home with Burnsie

Odds & ends this week: for those of you following my blog, catching you up on my world in the high desert of New Mexico after the retirement of Great Scots Magazine.

My Burnsie is now eight years old, his lower muzzle graying, but still delightfully puppyish and playful. My indoor cat, Katie, who was a young rescue when we adopted her in Albuquerque, is now 17 or 18 Blogger's Scottie, Burnsie, now 8 years oldyears old and still in remarkably good health. I’m down to a manageable three male donkeys, Wendell, Shams, and Cole, and the last of my small goats, Tevye. I refurbished my chicken coop and yard this year and added six laying hens, but free-range attrition has cut my flock of ‘Girls’ to four. The stray black cat who showed up at my place a year ago and left me with four baby kittens, dwindled now to a surviving black male, an outdoor cat, I call “Blackie”. He and Burnsie are buddies, running together most places.

I continue to delight in Burnsie’s puppyish maturity. Recently, I shut down my Asian Corner waterfall to clean out an algae bloom and to replace the float valve for the water pump. The old valve was rusted and ‘frozen’ and awkward to reach, so I had to climb into the lower pond and sit in the water to reach and remove the rusted parts. Burnsie LOVES cleaning the ponds, especially the fishless Asian Corner water feature, which is shallow, so seeing ME sitting in the lower pool was royal play time to him. Whenever my hands went under the water He plunged his head under the surface too, to ‘get’ whatever I reached for. Barking and yipping and gargling . . . clean-out time at the Asian Corner is as good as it gets for the puppy still alive and well in Burnsie.

It’s been fun watching my hens discover their freedom to free-range outside their enclosed pen. Like the big animals, they now cross the bridge to the other side of the irrigation ditch and to the grass field where the grass is always ‘greener’ (In the photo to the left, see the hen at the threshold to the bridge). The four Girls serve upBlogger's chicken at the bridge four brown eggs each day, so Burnsie and I enjoy fresh eggs regularly and what we don’t eat go to friends and neighbors.

I’m loving my 1964 Austin Healey 3000 roadster more each day. Found on the Internet classic wide white wall tires for the Healey’s wire spoke wheels. She’s a head-turner and a ‘Guy Magnet’ — everywhere I go, men crowd around to tell stories of “the good old days when …”

Anna and I are still karaoke fiends, regulars every Tuesday night and sometimes on Wednesday night too. Recently added John Legend’s song, “All of Me”, to my karaoke list, and I’m now intrigued by the heavy metal group, Disturbed’s, new amped-up version of the old Simon/Garfunkel classic, “Sound of Silence”. I like their new version, so I’m adding it to my favorite “Bridge Over Troubled Water” already in my karaoke list. A Santa Fe stranger recently sat at the front table at our karaoke night. After I sang a wanna-be “Nessun Dorma”, Luciano Pavarotti’s signature aria from Puccini’s, Turandot, he came over to me and introduced himself as a tenor who sings in the Santa Fe Opera Chorus — a premiere grand opera venue. He was enthusiastic about my “Nessun Dorma” and effusive in his praise. So you KNOW the Boy in me who secretly aspired to be a dramatic opera tenor so long ago was waaay pleased at age 72 to get the stranger’s informed feedback!

Blogger's outdoor cat, BlackieThese days my back doesn’t want to straighten up after strenuous work and my vision is fuzzier than my reading life wishes; my grip and strength/stamina aren’t what they used to be; my historic adobe homestead, where I’ve now lived longer than any other place in my life — 14 years — shows it’s age and its owner’s slowed attention, rather mirroring its owner himself who is growing older than he ever thought he’d be.

But all things considered, Life for me at Las Golondrinas, six years after Charlotte’s death and two years after ending my magazine, is MORE THAN ‘good’; it’s sweet and mellow and wholesome.

I and my animals are blessed … and we thankfully know it.

Joseph Harvill, Scottiephile