Sheila K. Collins Website



February 2014  

Masthead Sheila K. Collins from Website

Dear  ,


I'm home in Pittsburgh for the month of February, and given what travelers have had to deal with of late, I'm not taking my good fortune for granted. This month's article is about winter and weather, which we've all been having more than our usual share of lately.


Having more time at home hasn't meant not getting out for some worthwhile events. Our troupe participated in the global  One Billion Rising event here in Pittsburgh. Due to the weather, the event was moved from the ice covered market square to a downtown hotel, but a significant number of people were able to find us. Members of Wing and A Prayer danced to girl rapper friend Kellee Maize's song "Rise" from her new album The Fifth Element, and the usual generational boundaries dissolved.

Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Rising
Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Rising

Goddess willing and the weather people cooperating, we'll have an InterPlay intergenerational Playshop in Pittsburgh, lead by Toni McClendon at the Homewood Library this coming Saturday at 10:30 am so if you live in the area, come join in.


Rapper - Kellee Maize
Rapper - Kellee Maize

Meanwhile, may you stay warm and dry and connected to the people and things you love.



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Sunday February 9, 2014 
Growing up as a dancer the body was, and still is, my first language. I often sense or "know" things before I can explain them to myself or anyone else. This has caused me some difficulties since I, like you, grew up in a culture where the top priority or measurement of intelligence was Mental Intelligence (IQ).


Sunday February 2, 2014

On the road for ten days, half the time in Dallas/Fort Worth and at a ranch 100 miles north, I spent the remaining time in Atlanta, returning to Pittsburgh and temperatures in the teens. Each place I visited was having unusual weather, mostly colder than expected, but on the ranch we couldn't visit the rocks because warm weather there had awakened the snakes. A wood fire in one Atlanta house did little to warm the downstairs,



Wednesday January 22, 2014

In the musical comedy theater the dancers are called "gypsies." I suppose it's because the nature of their employment involves changing jobs and moving around the country often. The first year I was in New York, I lived in 11 different places around the city, including the times I arranged to sleep on a friend's couch. 



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Winter Wonderings 


Snow has been falling for hours, piling up at the river's edge. The hawk returned this morning and is perched in the high branches not far from my window. From his vantage point he overlooks, as I do, the screeching sea gulls, a dozen or so Canadian geese, and a pair of blue herons. The red cardinal and his less flamboyant red-capped mate are clustered around the bird feeder on our deck, do-si-doeing with some mourning doves and a few finches as bird seed shells splash onto the ground below.


It's been a momentous winter already and it's barely the middle of February. For me, hearth and home have taken on new meaning. As I warm myself in front of my living room's gas fueled fireplace, the fire's flames remind me of my good fortune. Unlike many of my countrymen, I haven't been stranded on a highway on my way to work due to a white out, sequestered in an airport due to massive flight cancelations, or forced to survive for an extended period without lights or heat due to downed electrical lines. I haven't even had to forgo trips to the grocery store or the gym in my neighborhood due to icy streets or untreated sidewalks.


There's snow piled tall on the side of the road, the result of snow blowers and snow plows for which I am also grateful. In my childhood in the Chicago area tall towers like that were hand built, shovel-by-shovel. Even little kids like us were recruited into service to clear the driveway so the fathers in the neighborhood could get their cars out for work.


This year our community, like many others, is running out of salt. We've shared our personal supply with a friend whose husband walks with a cane. Several weeks ago some critters got into our house between the floors and the tap dance overhead was annoying for a few days but all's quiet now. They either fled to the outdoors or have frozen to death inside.


I wonder about the lessons of winter for those of us who have well insulated houses that don't require the work of splitting wood to heat them. For those of us with warm coats and gloves, cars in good repair, and the money to put gas in them, we can keep up our schedule of frenetic activities, pretending that the changing seasons have no effect on us. Or we can take advantage of nature's frozen landscape, take this time to go inward and look outward, and notice what it takes to survive and thrive in both arenas.

Sheila K. Collins, PhD 

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