With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
At the end of August, my husband and I made a trip to Bishop, CA for a wedding at Mammoth Lakes. There was a feeling of fall in the air, and some leaves were beginning to fall. These yellow, heart-shaped leaves about the size of my palm caught my eye. I couldn’t resist and picked up a couple to return to southern California with me. I placed them on the landing going up to our loft, so everyday I saw them. Little did I know when I picked them up and tucked them in a book that I would be using them to write my newsletter article.
Adelaide Crapsey wrote this November poem as a response to Japanese Haiku poetry. She studied metrics and composed the above poem according to beats or strict adherence to the following syllabication:
1st line—title, using 2 syllables
2nd line—4 syllables
3rd line—6 syllables
4th line—8 syllables
5th line—2 syllable, returning to the title.
I tried my hand with this poem as follows:
Flowing downward, surely
Gently, softly, calling my name,
I invite you to give this a try. Here’s another guide you may use. The first line is the title; the second line describes the title (2 words); the third line describes the title in action (3 words); the fourth line describes a feeling (4 words) and the fifth line refers to the title (1 word). This is a little easier to do and fun.
Falling, swirling, floating
Letting go of life
Have an enjoyable time with the last six weeks of fall.
Blessings of delight.
P.S. Remember Freddie the Leaf.
Swing it, Sister! Swing it … and smile! And … glow! Glow…and roll on. Roll on some CBD oil…like Shelly & Wendy taught us at the Cannabis Health & Wellness Workshop at the Bellingham Crones Counsel. Myself, I smoothed it into my inner wrists and inner arms. What did I feel? At first, nothing. Then? Almost nothing. Ultimately, I felt a gentle–almost imperceptible—glow!
The Rock’n’Roll Dance Workshop: I can’t remember if it was there…or then…or if it was in the same room on a different day. But, thanks to Susan’s workshop, it was R&R from each decade, including my decade…which of course is the best. Truth is: I’ve lived several decades, so I have several favorites. I love dancing to Prince’s Little Red Corvette as much as I love dancing to Rock Around the Clock Tonight. And then, of course, our other all-time favorite: “R-e-s-p-e-c-t”–Aretha Franklin belting from deep within her Most Fabulous Crone Self. Oh yes, I am dancing and smiling … and glowing, as I continue driving on that “freeway of love in my pink Cadillac.”
Now Suzanne and I are back to our twice-weekly routine: Essentrics…our essential workout. We stretch, we strengthen, we gab. Mind, body, soul. “Remember how much fun you were having,” I ask her, “when you were dancing at Crones Counsel?” And I wonder if she still has–and displays–the photo I took of her at my first Crones Counsel, back in the day when I was a festi virgin. In the pix, Suzanne is swooping and diving…with her beautiful white shawl…floating mid-air.
Back to the R’n’R Workshop. Susan played for us songs that go all the way back to the big band sound of Glenn Miller: In the Mood. Myself, I’d move it–and groove it—to the R’n’R of American Bandstand. To this day–Long live Rock’n’roll!–I play Oldies But Goodies. I’ll even fess up: I fell for two of PBS’s Oldies-But-Goodies Packets of Ten CDs. Some songs are for washing the dishes, some are for vacuuming, some are for turning up loud and playing outside…so I can dance in the sunshine.
Since being back home, I have yet to combine the two: dancing and CBD oil. What’s holding me back? Obviously, I’m thinking about it. Hey! I live in Colorado. It’s legal. What am I waiting for?
Crones Counsel 26 was the highlight of my year. My burdens fell away as I immersed myself in a magical week of sisterhood and renewal. I love the excitement of spotting an old friend’s beloved face, hallway hugs, impromptu dining companions, meeting first-timers looking eager and perplexed. I remember my first Counsel, I was in my 50’s, feeling awed and overwhelmed, but I knew in my heart that I was exactly where I belonged!
There were so many Honored Elders this year – 27, I believe. Observing these wise and wonderful women who had clearly earned the title ‘Crone’, set me thinking about the stages of life they had live through in order to reach it.
Maiden, Mother, Matriarch and Crone were all represented at the gathering, and even though I’ll be Elder very soon, I don’t feel nearly wise enough. I wondered if other 70’s sisters felt this way, and if so, how to we prepare?
Maiden is full of energy, testing life in sips and gulps, open to adventure.
Mother is immersion, excitement, exhaustion. A full load no matter what the path. We’ve all ‘mothered’ in many ways. It seemed to go on and on…when, one wondered, would there be time to rest.
I was Croned in my 50’s and again in my 60’s but I was still mothering. It felt more like an introduction than having any great wisdom to impart.
When the Counsel started talking about the Matriarch (I was about 70 then) I could completely relate. A stage of quieting, going inward, taking stock of strengths, lessons learned. Exploring ways to bring it all together and thereby manifest the real power and wisdom that is the hallmark of a mature woman.
Matriarch is defined as a female head of family or village. The eldest woman of authority. What does that look like to each of us as we go about our daily lives?
Eight years ago I lost my mother and aunt, becoming the eldest family member. What I missed most, and still do, is connection to my past. The history only they knew, advice, understanding from someone who had known me all my life. Now when a family member asks me about something from out past, my first reaction is to reach for my phone to call Aunt Mabel. So I’m Matriarch, now what?
No one reaches this stage of life unscathed; we’ve lived the wars, the changes called progress, some of us have gone from out-houses and one room schools to nearly incomprehensible modern technology. Our bodies have been poked and prodded, cut and stitched, our minds expanded, shut down, buoyed up. We’ve loved, despaired, prayed and fought to make our lives…and often it never felt like quite enough.
In our Matriarchal time we may still be caretakers of family or career, but giving more attention to our own desires as well. We travel, read, paint, write, volunteer from the heart, start a new career, work for a cause, or just spend a little more time in our jammies. We search our ancestry, and explore the future, connecting with young ones in new ways, seeking their help with our phones and in turn being more open with them about our own lives in the times of social and political upheaval.
Perhaps in our journey toward Crone, we need this time to bring all the facets of our life together and acknowledge that we each have a strong core; deeply rooted in the sound foundation of the soul- and connected to the universe by an open heart.
It takes an immense amount of courage to own and put to use our personal power. The Matriarch takes time to get comfortable with her wisdom, giving herself credit where it’s due, making mistakes, learning the lesson and moving on. She can love herself. She knows how, it’s what she has done for others so many years.
As I walk my own path into Crone-hood I’m slowly learning to know aspects of myself that I buried beneath the roles I felt I needed to play.
I am reminded of Hecate, goddess of death and rebirth. For many years when I invoked her, I saw a silent figure, dark in the shadow of the shinning lantern she held to illuminate the crossroads, to help me find my way.
Now when I call her, she appears, tall and powerful, her long white hair blending into her robe of light. She extends her hand and I know one day I will clasp it. Becoming Crone.
We could not be more excited about our 27th annual gathering in Tucson next September 4-8. Thank you to those who have already registered, taking advantage of the early registration discount!
We have already had inquiries regarding our program! Our theme is based on Changing Woman, a powerful deity of Southwest Indigenous Apache and Diné (Navajo).
Checkin begins Wednesday afternoon with special attention paid to firstimers in our Newcomers’ Room. Our first gathering on Wednesday evening brings us all together with an Opening Ceremony, setting the tone for the weekend. Announcements, etc., are followed by Meet and Greet with refreshments and music and the opening of the Artisans’ Bazaar.
Our Artisans are all registered for the Counsel and only their handmade items are sold. A wide variety of artwork, jewelry, even handmade drums are available for purchase. A number of us are writers and you will find many books to choose from as well. The Artisans’ Bazaar is open most hours throughout the Counsel.
Thursday morning features Storytelling, the heart of our Counsel during which women have the opportunity to tell their personal stories. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry But they are all from the heart. Storytelling is offered during three morning sessions.
After our morning session on those mornings we break into small groups we call Wisdom Circles of 8 -10. This gives each participant a voice to be heard in a smaller, more intimate setting. Afterwards we break for lunch.
Three lunches at the hotel are included: Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
After lunch on two of the days we have two sessions of workshops, which are all peer led. Participants can choose from 2-4 workshops each session. The workshops are scheduled closer to the event and range in a wide variety of topics of interest to older women.
A popular evening program is Poetry Night where participants share their poetry. This is followed by a sweets reception and music. And then we drum, sing and dance!
Another evening event is our hilarious (and serious) Follies where we enjoy all kinds of talent from among our participants. Afterwards we drum, sing and dance!
Our afternoon event is an Honoring Ceremony, a celebration of those among us who are 80 and older. We usually have at least 20 among us who are honored in a beautiful and memorable ceremony. I must mention that one of our sister crones is 99! After the provided luncheon and Honoring Ceremony we will have free time for the rest of the day.
We have our final Morning Session on Sunday. Announcements and outreach donations are part of our program. For Outreach we pass the hat for donations to a local charity. A spokesperson from that charity will be present and we will hear about the work they do.
Our Closing Ceremony ends our Counsel. There are hugs all around and we say so long for another year.
If you are interested in being an artisan, leading a workshop, sharing your poetry, being a wisdom circle leader or if you have a talent you wish to share in the follies, please keep in touch through our Facebook page. Links to sign up sheets on our website will be available after the first of the year.
See you in Tucson! Get complete information on Tucson.