Cornelia Watson, greatest dancer of her generation, is dying of an irreversible illness.Returning to her farm home, she takes with her Amanda, friend and former dresser,and a lifetime collection of paintings: roads, paths, byways she had no time to explore in her dedicated and demanding life. Each day another painting is hung on her wall, and she visits, from her bed, the places she never saw with her physical eyes. She follows those ways,visits places and people who may exist only in her imagination or may not. Throughher paintings and her pain she learns to reconcile herself with disapproving relatives and, at the end, saves her young niece from a predatory suitor from Cornelias own past.
A ROAD OF STARS
Ar the age of forty-three, Cornelia Watson, the greatestdancer of her generation, is dying. A congestive heartcondition has caused her body to swell grotesquely, which disgusts one who spent her life creating beauty on the stage.
Although medical treatment might prolong her life, in its present condition, for some months, she chooses not to take advantage of this option, as there is no possibility of reversing her illness and she is not a good candidate for a heart transplant. Instead, she returns home to East Texas from her New York apartment, taking with her long-time companion and former dresser, Amanda, and her lifetime collection of paintings.
Cornelia has been totally dedicated to her work, her dance troupe, and her choreograpic creations. She has not wasted time or energy on personal relationships of a draining nature or on things she would have liked to do but had no time to pursue. She has had a life-time fascination with roads, paths, byways, but instead of following those as she traveled about the world, she bought paintings of them instead.
Now, settled in the farmhouse where she was born, each morning she has Amanda hang a new painting on the wall at the foot of her bed. Here, at the end of her life, she projects herself, through her imagination or dream or perhaps some metaphysical ability, into those works, following roads she could not travel earlier, turning corners into unsuspected places to meet strange people, moving down paths to find what lies beyond the limitations of the paintings.
These experiences are so real she believes that in some way they reflect reality. Her intense devotion to expressing truth through dance is reinforced by her trek up a canyon trail to the home of an old Indian and his daughter. There she learns that she, too, has listened to the Old Ones, without realizing it, finding the deep truths that not many bother to search out.
Another journey along a woods-path reveals to her the children she might have had and the man she might havemarried. A fevered dream, augmented by pain medication,takes her out among the stars, moving with comets and planets and systems as an equal in their cosmic dance.