Prompt: Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. [Prompt by Tracey Clark, via #reverb10]
This photo sums up the best of 2010 for me. It was my birthday, a big one. The students in the Houston Feldenkrais Training, in session for just two weeks, conspired to throw a surprise party. Lisa played the violin. Everyone brought amazing food for a luncheon potluck. The birthday cake was a cupcake pyramid from one of Houston’s premier cupcakeries. We adorned ourselves with temporary tattoos that didn’t wash off for days afterwards. Mardi Gras beads, a tiara, party hats for all, a pinata, a bouquet of my favorite flowers (blue iris), and other thoughtful gifts (including a great bottle of wine and an assortment of luxurious lotions and potions) made it a true celebration. We’re sitting at picnic tables outside of Westwood Hall at Emerson Unitarian Church in Houston, Texas, our beautiful venue for the training. It was a perfect, sparkling, sunshiny, Houston springsummer day.
The photo was taken by wonderful Frances, a student in our training. Pictured from left to right are Cathy (with coffee cup); Paul, dear friend, mentor, and business partner (baseball cap); Chris, my sweetheart and life partner: Thomas (at back table); Moi, the birthday girl, sporting the tiara and big smile; Nita; someone’s hand (not sure who!); and Carl, with our good friend Moshe Feldenkrais, who made a special guest appearance.
Sadly, three months later, Nita, chef, friend, expat bonne vivante, cupcake procurer and partner-in-crime, died suddenly at her home in Kazhakstan, of an enlarged heart. I couldn’t help but think how poetic and ironically appropriate that post mortem diagnosis was — and thought to myself, “What a way to go.” And yet, she was only 43. WTF. I continue to miss her. Our training program reconvened a mere two weeks after her death, and we all miss her, halfway protecting the territory on the floor that was “her place.” To come across all of these party photos, and this one in particular. . .
So this picture is the year in a nutshell. Good friends, old and new. The culmination of years of work and organization. The creative spontaneity of expression from a newly forming community. Happiness and fun, silliness and celebration. Love, business, food, work, colleagues. And the awareness of life and all its preciousness. What does the choice reveal about me? I guess just that I love my friends, and my work, and that I have learned to relish them, and everything.