It was so cool. I never knew when it was going to happen, nor how; so when it did, it was always amazing.
... please be assured: no one is completely devoid of value.
Saw this and immediately thought of all of you.
"♫ Scottish Music- Auld Lang Syne ♫"
From very early days, I was taught to sing as a way to improve my speech (because I was partly deaf), and by the time I was in college I was an accomplished classical soprano (but nowhere near "professional" of course). Anyway, I loved to sing, and did so at every opportunity throughout most of my life.
I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned it here previously, but two years ago the snolfs and I started celebrating the winter solstice. Since I’m not a Christian, it seemed silly to celebrate Christmas, and to me personally New Year’s Eve is nothing special, since it’s simply a marker of time on one of many arbitrary calendars. I turned to my Scandinavian heritage and—not surprisingly at all—discovered that the winter solstice was a very important occasion for my ancestors. That made the decision to celebrate it very easy; but it hasn’t been until this year that we’ve been fully free to create our own celebration.
I somehow missed the terrible news out of Connecticut until just a bit ago. I’m sure my thoughts and feelings in response are far from unique... it never ceases to amaze me that individuals can feel such loathing or despair that such acts seem like a reasonable course of action.
As an alternative to thinking along those lines, I hereby offer a link and a strong suggestion to have some tissues handy: 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith in Humanity This Year.
Peace and love to you all.
I have been deep in home-improvement projects of late—mostly painting the interior, although there’s plenty of outdoor work that needs attention as well. The very short days make that difficult to get to, however; by the time I’m done with work, the sun is low enough in the sky that I’d barely get started before it faded enough to make it time to stop.
The big project—and topic of discussion for the three of us—has been how to celebrate the solstice this year. We’ve celebrated it the past couple of years, but this is our first opportunity to go all out. I suggested a Scandinavian pagan theme for the festivities, which was warmly received, so we all have been exploring ideas. It’s been a lot of fun, learning about ancient customs and thinking about which ones to use.
There is another holiday tradition that I sort of fell into; and I would be greatly remiss if I were not to continue it this year.
Long past time, actually, but all who venture here know that. All who’ve ventured here over the years also know that the drumbeat I’ve marched to most consistently has been that of personal liberty, as contrasted to economic and political freedom, although as I recently observed, they cannot always be neatly categorized.
When I first got online and began exploring pro-freedom sites, I was very fortunate—I somehow came across Greg Swann. His ideas and the words he chose to convey them were oxygen to a sputtering spark inside me. If I have helped anyone understand the importance of individual liberty, if my words have helped bring eudaimonia to another’s way of being, then he deserves credit as well.
Today—not at all coincidentally—Greg has released a new book, Man Alive! It is short, it is available in its entirety at that link, and it is another heady hit of oxygen.
I have much more to say about the book and how it has affected me already, but that can all wait. For now, I want to thank Greg for—yet again—creating and sharing something that has resonated with the very fiber of my being... and again, at an enormously critical juncture for me.
Please, go read Man Alive! It truly is that important. I welcome any comments, questions, and/or observations you care to make in response.
And I bet it isn’t what most of you might be thinking it is.
How cool is this? Joss Whedon has turned his quirky directorial eye to Shakespeare. Behold: Much Ado About Nothing. Shiny! A world of “yes” to seeing this as soon as it comes out!
[Originally published April 2005]
I have never been concerned with my age, or aging in particular. Like my approach to race and sex, my approach to a person’s age—including my own—has always been: “You are what you are and you can’t (easily) change that”. Even so, as the silvery strands populate my crown more thickly, I can’t deny that I have been thinking more about the effects of the years—and miles—upon myself.
The impetus for this introspection has been the recurring topic of growing older in an email conversation with a very good friend. Being of like minds, it’s been mostly a positive exchange. I think we’ve helped each other with what might otherwise have been some rough spots, since it’s hard to completely ignore a culture that seems perpetually enamored with youth and firm, lithe bodies. When she mentioned that an acquaintance of hers recently celebrated her 50th birthday by throwing a “crone party”, the idea resonated with me very strongly. Why not celebrate an important, and potentially rich time of life—and the achievement of getting there?
I remember my grandmother calling the lines at the corners of her eyes “crow’s feet” when I was a youngster. The term horrified me, then and now. To me, the lines weren’t ugly; they were the sign of a face that had smiled and laughed much, enjoying the sun and wind and weather. I see the beginnings of them at the corners of my eyes, and instead of feeling a sinking dread, I welcome them. They’re reminders that I, too, have enjoyed much in my life thus far.
Similarly, my once-flat lower abdomen now curves a bit, a testament to my body's production of two children. As I enjoyed being pregnant very much, and enjoy my children, that new curve is a mostly pleasant reminder of two very special times in my life. To use a Heinleinian phrase, my baby-chewed breasts are softer now, but I wouldn’t trade their previous firmness for the many hours with a baby in my arms, gazing into his or her eyes as my body nourished theirs.
These days I’m moderately fit, instead of the very fit person I used to be—also something I refuse to feel guilty about (most of the time—again, those messages are hard to totally ignore). My life is so full that devoting the time it would take to maintain the body I once had is not a choice I want to make. I want to play with my children, who can’t hike, rock climb, or ski (yet); I want to savor the time spent reading a good book; I want to exercise because it feels good to feel my body stretching and moving, not because I have to maintain buns of steel.
I also refuse to count calories, or fat grams, or any such silliness, even though my body seems more likely to want to store excess than it has before. I’d much rather enjoy a decadent chocolate cake, a glass of red wine, and good conversation with beloved friends, and be a little wider in the behind for it, than be obsessed about thunder thighs and the Atkins diet, and be skinny and alone night after night.
I hope that I’ll be around to savor the intense spark of life in a grandchild. My mother railed against this sign of aging more than any other, and I’ve never understood that. What could be a more precious affirmation of life than creating new life—passing a bit of your spark into the future?
When I see a woman with stunning silver hair, I find myself hoping that when I’m completely grey, my hair is as gorgeous as hers. If not, I may just color it—something I’ve never even contemplated before—as a celebration of cronedom and the unique beauties it offers. I certainly will not cut it almost completely off, then curl, comb, tease, puff, or permanent the remnants, until I startle at my own appearance in the mirror every morning. My mane will remain long and flowing for as long as I’m able to care for it, or have someone willing to do so—and when someone isn’t, then it’s time for me to go.
My underwear—and nightwear, when I choose to wear it—will continue to come from Victoria’s Secret or similar place, even though I never have and never will look like their models. Must one be under 35 to appreciate the glissando of silk on one’s skin? Or even better, the caress of satin under an appreciative lover’s hand? Both feel better now for having slept in some of the interesting situations I’ve found myself in over the years.
In short, as I progress into another phase of life, I fully intend to drink fully of its offerings, learn as much as I can from both its pleasures and its pains, and do things the way I want, rather than the way “little old ladies” are expected to. That’s the way I have always been. Why should I stop when I become a crone?
It’s been said before that I’m a mutant. Maybe I am. But I see no value in denying what one is—who one is—for the sake of fitting in with a culture that is in many ways profoundly unhealthy. To me, becoming a crone is an important milestone, one well worth celebrating.
I think I’ll begin planning my crone party.
Here’s a cool interview with Joss Whedon that ranges from Dr. Horrible to Firefly, Buffy, and other interesting stuff. We are all big Dr. Horrible fans, and it’s good to know the project is progressing, even if glacially.
I’ve been spending way too much time sitting in front of my computer, so—even though I owe all of you seven, and several other people, email—after I finish this it’s going to be shut down for the rest of the weekend.
Before I go, I’d like to share this vid that a dear friend brought to my attention. It is just lovely:
Thank you, friend! I hope everyone reading has a good weekend.
Just when I needed it, along comes proof that the world isn’t an entirely batshit–insane place.
Snolf the First and I have been; and Snolf the Second is eagerly awaiting her turn.
It’s a simple idea, really; but all the same, I’d like to test it before investing a lot of time and effort into it.
I’m finding some interesting, er, artifacts as I sift through stuff I’ve been carrying around for years. One thing that caught my attention last night is a copy of Fifth Estate’s spring/summer 2005 issue. I believe it was an essay—the title of which I’ve used for this ramble—that sparked something within me.