“She” by Maria Wattier is a lovely, vibrant poem full of contrasts and paradoxes, a Crone ideal to live toward. For me, having turned 80 this last year (Honored Elder, another ideal to live toward 😁) I am experiencing a somewhat different landscape from past decades, one where I slow down and look around more, take time out more, let life be what it is. Instead of “shoulds” (I should do more X, I should be more Y, I ought to get involved with Z…) I try to focus on where I am at the moment, who I’m with, what I’m actually doing.
If I am tired, I rest. If I feel like reading, I read. If I have something to say, I say it. If I’m excited about something I go there. Even meditation isn’t about trying to become “better“ or more “spiritual” so much as a relaxing into present moment being.
That said, I do take care of myself physically – of course I do! I exercise (actually as a co-leader at our senior center three times a week), eat well (mostly plant-based) and get enough sleep. But mostly I just love – whoever I’m with, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing. I’m done with striving to live up to my or anyone’s expectations of how I “should” be – as an artist, as a grandmother, as a friend, as an old lady. I’m just loving and living toward whatever comes next. And I am enjoying the heck out of it!
“What do you want for Valentine’s Day?” the young man who had just made my grande mocha latte asked. I must have looked at him with such a blank stare that he offered “I’m surveying my customers to determine what would be a good gift for my girlfriend.” “Oh,” I finally murmured and then finally coming to my senses said, “Well, I’m probably not a good one to ask but what does she like?” “Many things,” he said. “That is the problem.” “Well, does she like chocolate? Chocolate is always good,” I said. “Oh yes!” he answered enthusiastically. He was obviously in love. Digging for some creativity, I suggested he make her some chocolate truffles – then he would truly be giving a gift of the heart — something he had labored over and something she loved. “Could I do that?” he asked incredulously. “Of course,” I answered, “No more difficult than making a mocha latte and much more rewarding.” Well, maybe I exaggerated but then, he was young and the young think they can do everything anyway.
He seemed to really like the idea and I walked away wondering what I would like for Valentine’s Day. My three-year dead husband alive again? My former life back? World peace? A return of that optimistic outlook that says we can really do something for someone else that ultimately matters? Tougher question than he could have ever imagined.
I drifted over to the latest paperback best-sellers and selected a couple to get me through the next few days of cloudy Midwest winter and then found myself in the cookbook section looking for chocolate recipes. I found one for truffles that seemed relatively simple and took the book back over to my interrogator. He looked at me like a happy puppy and thanked me profusely.
Later, taking advantage of a rare rain-free Sunday, I walked a trail near my house and thought about what I wanted for Valentine’s Day and why I felt compelled to help the young Romeo on his quest. Was it possible that I thought that love still mattered? Still made a difference in this life? In someone’s life? Perhaps.
Rich and I had more than thirty good years together, all of which were filled with love. Not the fairy-tale endless bliss kind of love. I’m talking about the ordinary every-day, snoring at night, bad morning breath, kids needing new shoes, broken plumbing kind of love when the occasional self-sacrificing act was noticed and appreciated. It didn’t matter if the birthday pecan pie had a crispy brown edge; the effort was appreciated. One of the best Valentine’s presents I ever got was a complete top to bottom, inside too cleaning of my salt-encrusted-from-the-mucky-roads car. That act said I love you more powerfully than a dozen roses.
Later I read short piece by Joseph Campbell:
“The whole thing in marriage is the relationship and yielding. Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair has to do with immediate personal satisfaction. Marriage is an ordeal; it means yielding, time and again. That’s why it is a sacrament: you give up your personal simplicity to participate. And you are not giving to the other person; you are giving to the relationship. Because you are not giving to the other person, it is not impoverishing – it is life building, life fostering, enriching.
… The beautiful thing is the growing: each helping the other to flower. We often want to freeze the other person, but you can’t have that and love too.”
– From A Joseph Campbell Companion, selected and edited by Diane K. Osbon
So why did I encourage the latte maker in that way? Because I saw in his young smitten face the potential for something much grander than he could understand. He’ll learn that it isn’t what we chose to give on any market-driven holiday. The only thing we ever really have to give is ourselves and the only choice is how we best represent that. With a quickly-purchased card and box of chocolates? Or through some labor of love that may not in the eyes of the world be perfect but in the eyes of love will always be. I’m still a believer.
February Crone Times is Available
The theme is JOY. Prepare yourself for some great stories! Click here to download the February 2020 Crone Times.
Crones of Fire: Purpose – Passion – Power
October 7-11, 2020 – Portland, OR
Welcome to the beautiful Pacific Northwest!
Please gather with us in Portland, Oregon for Crones Counsel XXVIII where, under the watchful eye of Mt. Hood, we will draw on our Sisterhood for the strength and support to become what we truly are — women, forged of fire like the mighty volcanoes. Crone acknowledges her purpose, feeding it with flames of passion and wielding the power of fire to achieve her goals.
You will find registration information here.
Due to limited availability, in order to get the conference rate please make your Hotel Reservations early, especially if you plan to come before and/or stay after the gathering. Hotel reservations are available at the Embassy Suites by Hilton at Portland Airport by calling 855-271-3617. Please note that you must use the group code “CRO” for Crones Counsel.
Crones Counsel 28 Facebook Group
The Crones Counsel Facebook Group is now live. Search for Crones Counsel 28 and ask to join.
PORTLAND FUN FACTS:
Recognized as an official city park in 1976, Mills End Park is in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest park in the world. Originally intended to hold a light pole, the grassy area is 0.6 meters in diameter and has a total area of 0.29 square meters.
PORTLANDIA: The 38’ statue, 2nd largest copper repousse statue next to the Statue of Liberty, hovers over the Portland Building’s entrance at 1120 SW 5th Ave. Unveiled in 1985 as a symbol of Sea commerce and trade, she was also touted as the Madonna of Portland sculpture…referring to the pop star not the Virgin Mary!
The plaque contains this poem by Portland resident Ronald Talney:
She kneels down, and from the quietness of copper reaches out. We take that stillness into ourselves, and somewhere deep in the earth our breath becomes her city. If she could speak this is what she would say: Follow that breath. Home is the journey we make. This is how the world knows where we are.
Announcing: Crones Counsel Retreat
May 8-10, 2020
YMCA Camp Shaver
Jemez Springs, NM
Wise adventurous Crones go to camp! We have secured the YMCA Camp Shaver to spend a weekend in May. It starts at 3 pm on Friday May 8th, through Sunday 11am, May 10th. You need to bring your own sleeping bag, towel, washcloth, and toiletries. Sleeping arrangements are bunk beds (no top bunks) with several people in a room.
Activities include workshops, storytelling, craft items, wisdom circles, drumming, singing, dancing, and free time to hike the grounds (really). Optional activities include lounging, pajama parties and chat-up time.
The location is Jemez Springs, a Native American Pueblo, New Mexico, in the Santa Fe National Forest, an hour north of Albuquerque, 90 minutes northwest of Santa Fe, and 6.5 hours southwest of Colorado Springs, CO. Elevation: 6306 feet. Registration $120, all inclusive. Get more information.
There is nothing like a book
By Virginia Small
There is nothing like a book.
YouTube videos and
and and and . . .
But . . .
nothing, nothing, nothing
The look of
The feel of
The weight of
The smell of
The yellowness of
A real book
Check out Virginia at www.zebracorn.com.
Have a poem that you would like us to publish in this newsletter? Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org