BY ANNIE BRYAN
Here lies a call to action. Get up early and complete rewarding tasks that bask in self forgiveness, universal gratitude, and planetary love. There is a ritual to caring for yourself, your home and your space. We each must find our own actions that branch to an intentionality beyond that of just a “task.” It takes a long time to find the things that make us happy and charge our lives with fullness, and that’s okay. Have a good journey.
At 8 in the morning on Wednesday, July 25th, Lisa Houdei of a gift to the St. Louis music scene, LéPonds, arrived to KSLU for a few hours of amplified wholesomeness. Walking to the studio, she marveled at an unidentifiable native floral plant which had made its home in a bit of grass along our commute. I thought about how many times I had passed the plant, and it’s reiterations across campus, and never questioned its name.
By this time in the morning, she had cared for her sixty house plants, handful of dogs and cats, several chickens, two ducklings, and her garden. Intent on fostering a total haven of sorts in the space behind her home, Lisa does away with any language synonymous to “yard.” On this she quotes her favorite Parisian decorator, saying “if you want a garden have a garden, if you want a yard have a yard.”
LéPonds’ sophomore album, I Was Dancing With My Dream Team, slowly made a home in some hearts as it released online on July 21st, 2018. Two years after her premiere album Heat, the cumulative sound of I Was Dancing With My Dream Team builds a family of femininity and playfulness as it grounds us in around the edges of life. From personal manifestos to quirky bits of fiction, the lyrics and the meaning behind how they sound paint a picture: what is it like to be a woman right now? What is a safe level to joke around? We can use her album to question how likely it is to, really, fall in love with a gentleman caller. We can use her album to dive into the confusion of existing right now and of trying to foster some love between the bits of what life is. Sometimes, the bits suck.
“Say you wanna fall in on the porch
He was gonna bite I was walking home
Gone for red”*
When things get heavy, it’s okay to back out. Knowing when to pack up and leave something behind, no matter how much pain there is, is epitomized in Red. Every way in which we connect with each other runs the risk of growing red- and we live it. It won’t be red forever.
We can learn to take things lightly. The red of something breaking and ending runs sour, but we can use the energy it has to lose ourselves in the imaginary for a little bit, to forgive sexual assault-intrigued men (more on this later), and to actually live a little bit.
The butterfly effect of caring for those around you is a basket of small decisions which build and brace for impact. Maybe each ritual isn’t a permanent decision, but it is one for our own longevity and health. Nothing lasts, but we can make what we have a lot denser with fostering personal and interspecies connection, grounding ourselves, and taking note of the little pieces of the planet around us.
In the end, maybe it’s not about what you fill your time with or what gives you the capital, both social and otherwise, to survive that is most important. Maybe it’s how we fill our little gaps between it all that matters the most for us. Maybe we find ourselves most true when we care for plants, ducklings, or creating a novel or a journal entry into lyrics. That bit is up to you.
Lisa holds an energy that grounds us. Taking notice and appreciation in the tiny gifts of the world, giving back to the world, and being gentle and hopeful along the way. We will all be okay.
Maybe the takeaway from I Was Dancing With My Dream Team is to care for something to care for yourself. Maybe the takeaway is to turn the “this is water” of it all into something lighter. To take the red of something and to recognize how it won’t last forever, as nothing ever ever does. Maybe we give to ourselves when we pay homage to our local humans in the form of love, and it’s physical manifestation, art. I hope this finds you in a good spot. Go water a plant.
*Interpreted wrong, but that's all okay.