I had no idea when I agreed to be your Board Chair that our first major task, other than planning the gatherings, would be to cancel for the first time since Crones Counsel began twenty-eight years ago. As I have written in emails and on our Facebook page, it was a decision that was both painful and easy. With the experts’ prognosis that this pandemic will continue for months, we knew we needed to do what we must to protect our constituency. It was also important to act early so we could potentially renegotiate contracts that were already in place. Meanwhile, we are still planning for 2021, hoping we can have it in Portland but time will tell whether that is possible. As soon as we know, you will know.
So .. how do we stay connected until then? We’re hoping to have some virtual gatherings. Our first will be June 20th (Summer Solstice) using the conference tool Zoom creating, “Zoom in June.” We will be sending out emails inviting you to this event. Zoom is a conferencing tool that you can run on your computer or tablet. I’ve been on Zoom meetings that have singing, story telling and have split into small groups for more intimate discussions. Sound familiar? Maybe we can even try virtual drumming! You don’t have to buy anything and there are a variety of ways you can connect. We’ll all learn together so stay tuned.
Seasons: The Way of the Crone
By Win Fiandaca
Dear Readers, We did not receive any submissions for this month’s, “What Being a Crone Means to Me.” So I am taking the opportunity to re-publish an article I wrote for Buffalo Women’s Vision published by Marta Quest and Mahtowin Howe in their July/August 2000 magazine. I was 59.
As far as seasonal cycles go, many of us mature women are in Summer, the fullest cycle of life. Spring, with its budding has bloomed into summer. The gradual decline of fall and the death of winter are future events.
For me, physically, summer embraces the arid climate of Phoenix, Arizona. I wilt just a little more each day when temperatures rise into the high 110s. But spiritually, I feel quite comfortable in my personal summer. I am in the fullness of life.
But as the seasons come and go, is this precious time of my life only a fading moment until my decline in autumn years followed by the decay and death of “winter?” I do not think so.
For the last few years I have been pulling away from a linear view of life toward one that perceives the birth-life-death-rebirth cycle as an ongoing process, not events on a timeline. Eastern philosophies embrace this cyclical way of seeing life; so do Native Americans and most other indigenous people. Indeed, Western minds are coming around to it also, especially in those who embrace the goddess.
The linear concept holds that we are born, we live, and we die. Birth-Adolescence-Adulthood-Old Age-Death: finite events. Nature, however, provides us with an observable pattern of life, one that we easily experience with our senses.
As a child did you ever keep a cocoon in a jar only to thrill to the butterfly’s emergence? I did. It was a downright mystical experience to open my bedroom window and watch this graceful creature fly into freedom. I thought not once to mourn the death of the caterpillar. As a Crone in my “summer” I find joy in embracing life as a pattern of cycles and look forward to fall and winter.
There is another aspect of life’s process to consider and that is its interconnectedness and wholeness. Physicists tell us that when a butterfly flaps its wings, weather is affected in Canada. [Now they say that the entire Universe responds!] And historically even astrologers in ancient times marveled at the play of star, sun and moon on individual lives.
To think of our individual lives as sparks of something that separates us from the field of what we call eternity is to deny the wholeness of eternity itself.
So I am enjoying the fullness of my life in my summer years with great anticipation that my autumn and winter years will ever-renew and expand me into full expression of who I am and with no fear of endings. This is the way of the Crone
Win Fiandaca is 79. She lives in the Phoenix area in winters and retreats to the tall pines at 7,000’ feet in summer. She is married for 43 years and has three children and four grandchildren.
What are you doing while staying isolated?
By Patricia Layden
Staying at home, reading, working on art projects, virtual visits with family and groups I belong to via FaceTime or Zoom. I order groceries from Fred Meyer and my husband and I pick them up. Sometimes it is a little frustrating since they don’t always have what I asked for and some of the substitutions are not acceptable, but we manage. We have a garage apartment on our property, and one of the inhabitants and I do exercise together three times a week, staying 6 feet apart. My husband and I go for walks occasionally, sometimes in the neighborhood and sometimes in a small park where hardly anyone goes. All in all, except for a touch of cabin fever and the grocery frustration, it’s not too bad, and we are getting some things done around the house and yard.
By Rosemary Lucier
My husband and I have been in quarantine since March 13th when our daughter, a public health nurse, told us to stop our travels and get home. She has been shopping for us although others, including neighbors, have offered. We walk once or twice daily and go to areas where we can enjoy nature. We are fortunate to be near the coast and frequently walk on the beach and through the now empty campgrounds at the beach. The birds sing for us as we walk. We work outside weeding, trimming overgrown bushes and trees, and laying down barrier material, rocks and driftwood. I’ve filled up numerous pots by using two overgrown jade bushes. My daughter and a friend asked for masks so I used a sturdy cotton curtain and a Hawaiian print material to make masks.
I start each day with a meditation. I’ve learned how to use zoom for church service and my wisdom circle. I journal each day and share some of my writing with my writing class. I phone and text friends and relatives and church members. Music is important too. We’ve listened to several concerts on tv and via utube. Laughter is good too. I’ve had friends and relatives send me funny cartoons and sayings which I really appreciate.
I read Kitty O’meara’s poem “And the people stayed home” early on in our quarantine and refer to it often. It is a beautiful vision of how we can come out of this situation healed and changed. See below for the poem.
And the People Stayed Home
by Kitty O’Meara
”And the people stayed home,
And read books, and listened,
And rested, and exercised,
And made art, and played games,
And learned new ways of being,
And were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed
And some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant,
Dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways,
The earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed,
And the people joined together again,
They grieved their losses,
And made new choices,
And dreamed new images,
And created new ways to live
And heal the earth fully,
As they had been healed.”
Today is a Good Day to Die
By Tim Ward
A 73 -year-old American in Madrid tells it like it is.
My friend, author Marsha Scarbrough, wrote this article, which I am publishing with her permission:
As I boot up my computer this morning, the Internet tells me that Corona virus has taken more than 7,000 lives in Spain. I’m in my 16th day of lock down in Madrid, the city hardest hit in the country. Although I feel fine, my thoughts turn toward death.
I think, “today is a good day to die.”
Note from Kay Marie – Treasurer
The necessity to cancel this year’s gathering has kept me busy. I want to thank
each of you for responding via our link to request your refund and give me a
current address to send the check. This process should be wrapped up in the next
few days as the final checks are processed.
The generosity of our tribe is amazing. To those of you who donated a portion of
your registration fee I personally want to thank you. Your donations help us to stay
financially secure for our future.
As we continue to negotiate with the hotel to terminate our contract, we realize
there may be some financial responsibility for us. We certainly are hopeful to
minimize that. Our board is committed to be good stewards of the money we
are entrusted with.
On a personal note: I have been staying home. Although in my retirement this
is not too terribly new, I stay home most of the time. I am very fortunate to live in
the Southwest and have sun shine most days, Spring is giving us flowers and with
the reduced cars on the road – clear skies!
Stay well, stay happy, stay home!
Conscious Aging thoughts as I look in the mirror during Sunday Morning Body Maintenance time:
Hair that once grew so thick on my head
Now sprouts unbidden from elsewhere instead!
And that’s not to mention what once grew down there Has slowly but surely become quite rare!
Oh! there is an upside-don’t get me wrong-
I wouldn’t have to shave before donning a thong! Though, why in the world would that be desired When all those sweet parts are mostly retired?
Aaah! Isn’t it nice to laugh and be happy
And love how I look though everything’s flabby?
All that I see has performed faithfully its duty
And, doubtless, I’m just an 80 year old cutie!
d’Estree Dockter 4/5/20
What’s Life Like in Spain During the Covid-19
Marsha Scarbrough FB video: https://www.facebook.com/International.Living/videos/243530283437829