I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming... suddenly you find - at the age of 50, say - that a whole new life has opened before you.
~ Agatha Christie ~
That's why I love to juxtapose the word "juicy" with crone. Initially, you don't think that they fit together, but when it clicks in that they do fit together-and the juicy crone might be a way to think about yourself-it's sort of a delight. And I maintain that the crone phase can truly be the crowning glory of a lifetime!
~ Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen ~
Can you tell how joyful I am about this age and stage of my life? There's never been a better time for me. I have been a daughter, a wife, I am a mother, a grandmother, a writer since I was nine years old and publishing before and since I was 20. I am an artist, and a wild wooly fiber-worker. I am an interfaith minister with my heart wide open to all people walking any spiritual path that is based in gentleness, loving kindness, and compassion, one that is non-judgmental and accepts all who would meet them in this spirit. I am a healer, I have been a journal writing teacher for over thirty years. I am am deeply involved in animal rescue and have a house full of little creatures who are my heart and soul.
My whole life I have been working toward becoming all that I knew I could be, even when few understood my journey, and as I pass through the portal from 55 to 56 and begin my 57th year, I am positively brimming over with joy and a sense of having "landed" smack dab into the middle of all that I was meant to be, finally the metamorphosis, the transformation, the amalgamation, a new beginning grounded in decades of living and studying, writing, teaching, working, healing, and creating art in many genres. My birthday, yesterday was a pinnacle of so much more than I can express, and the path before me -- though I'm certainly no Pollyanna believing it will all be sunshine and roses -- is already, I can see from this vantage point, strewn with wildflowers, love in many directions, and gratitude in abundance. I will succeed. I will love and I will not fear life anymore. In this very moment I can tell you that if feels good to be me! And I can tell you that that is the first time I have ever said that in my whole entire life!
So yes, I am 56, crossing over into Cronehood with the last of my menses disappearing in the vapors, and finally settling into my own body as the sacred and joyous vessel that it is. I am coming to truly love and celebrate myself as never before. I am valuing myself in a way I never dreamed possible, and my work and my life are sprouting in every direction like seeds in spring, like popcorn popping all over the place.
As I write this I am in the middle of creating a very large garden which only this year is beginning and will be many years in the making -- I will enjoy every year ahead as the garden comes into it's own and becomes the garden of my imagining. I will be growing right along with it, blooming where I'm planted, and growing more deeply rooted with bigger and many more fragrant flowers growing on the cloak I wear as a woman, ever-becoming. I am one of the flowers I am growing in my very own garden.
I am working on three different books and they are all finally moving forward a little more each day. One, the front runner from the point of view that it will be finished first because of the kind of book it is, gets the most attention because it has already been gestating inside of me for many years. The second book will probably take 2 years because of the research involved, and the third book, a large mixed media book may take five years to finish creating and I am quite comfortable with that. Where am I going?
Many people hit 40 and are in despair feeling that their lives are over and what have they done? I always remind my students that Grandma Moses didn't start painting until she was 75, painting until she was over 100, and is the most famous woman folk artist that ever lived. Age, time and space are relative. I feel like I've just been shot out of a cannon, my life just begun, and I am, in my 57th year now, happier, more excited, and more at peace, more grounded, than I ever have been.
There is a domino effect happening in my life that is, for me, awesome to behold. In January I bought my first house ever on my own. The house, as many of you have read and seen in the pictures in blog entries here, came with a great big Magic Ship in the back yard! (Well, it wasn't in such great shape when I got here, but after having it restored, and painted pink purple and orange, it kind of set sail in the seas of my imagination and there's no turning back!) My back yard looks like a Dr. Seuss book and I am having a planting frenzy in such a state of bliss, the whirling dervish of seeds inside of me spinning so fast that I am watching things sprouting all around me even as I am planting more.
The Magic Ship emerging from the woods...
My house is coming into order in a way it never has before. And my one studio that I feared would be too crowded has now been divided so that I now have two studios. My attached garage has now become my fiber studio and it will be magnificent. Pictures of my studios will arrive here as soon as they feel ready to show themselves to the world. (Well, you know, there are so many things that live in an artist's studio that most people never see. What with the fairy folk and pink flamingos sticking their beaks in and Lord help me, the gnomes! And the one of a kind dolls come to life and heaven only knows what they might be up to. I mean if a studio isn't ready to be photographed, well, some little body or other will make the camera disappear...) So stay tuned and the pictures will arrive when the wee folk let them!
My main studio inside with the wonderful windows all the way around looking out onto the garden with bird feeders at the window I look through sitting here at my computer onto my deck, wind chimes tinkling everywhere, is my writing/publishing/mixed media studio and the work in these two studios, while they will sometimes intermix, are best kept divided to be orderly and have things easily found for the task at hand. So now instead of one tiny room so overcrowded I couldn't get into it in my last home, I now have two spacious studios, not to mention an ark-full of parrots, puglets and Big Dog Moe, plus all of the wildlings that are part of our world here.
And so I am 56. And I have arrived at the beginning of the wondrous journey before me. And I am happy and full of joy. And my work is ready to once more launch itself into the world. The writing/publishing/fiber art and more are cranking up again like Santa's workshop before Christmas and will be going ever onward into the future, no matter whatever life may bring. I am singing my song, and my angels are all around me.
Walt Whitman, so dear to me, such a guiding star for me through his writing, summed up very well how I am feeling just now, In Song of Myself. He wrote:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loaf and invite my soul,
I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Sing it Walt. I'm singing with you...