A friend and I were joking, one morning, about the effects of gravity and later-in-life dating. She was on her way to pick up a set of room darkening curtains in preparation for “afternoon delight” with a young lover. We both agreed that our sensual nature had not diminished with age and laughed about her desire to “set the stage.”
My muse must have been listening in because, after we hung up, she dropped this line on me.
She had a one candle body
but her passion lit the room.
Who was this woman with such passion that she could light a room? Images of darkened meeting places and intertwining body parts beckoned me. I wanted to know her story. I waited for more.
My muse fell silent. Muses are such teases.
So, I did what I always do after a drop like that. I wrote down the line, tucked it into my poetry-to-be journal, and pondered how I could tell this woman’s story as a visual.
Months later, when the “Figuratively Speaking” call for art from the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation landed in my email, I knew it was time to invite her into my studio.
This was a powerful piece to create and my most challenging collage, to date. She put me to work! Attempting to capture her confident and expressive presence using only my hand printed papers – without pen, pencil, or brushwork to enhance or clarify her edges – felt like a “dare I dash” to the grocery store in my paint spattered jeans and ponytail without eyeliner, mascara or blush. Something I wouldn’t have given a second thought to twenty years ago. (There’s a metaphor in there if you care to dig. And, yes, a little vanity here …)
Printing the papers and piecing her together into something beautiful or at least pleasing (she wouldn’t settle for pleasing by the way) felt a lot like reweaving the unravellings that have been my challenge these past five years.
Thus the title, “Dream Weaving a Crone’s Delight.”
The paper-constructed curtain that she pulls from off-canvas was not part of my initial sketch but I love how it came to represent that which waits in the ethers to take form – if we remember how to dream. She is not afraid to reach into “nothingness” with surrender and trust because she knows the truth. When we reach out for help, the Divine reaches back.
If you haven’t gathered by now, I am venturing away from art-talk.
Crone and Desire are two words that seldom get to sleep together in our society – at least not in the light of day. If you look up the definition for crone in Webster’s Dictionary you will find “a cruel or ugly old woman.” Look further and you find “witch, hag, old bag, biddy.” Not a lot to do with desire unless you desire to run in the opposite direction when you see one heading your way.
However, if you are the crone, running in the opposite direction is an unsustainable desire.
As my youth fades into the shadows of the past, I find myself uncovering a passion that reaches unabashedly into a full-bodied experience of delight with a little “don’t you dare tell me what I can and cannot do” mixed in.
Kind of paradoxical, really. That I can find so much LiGHT in the expression of a fading body after losing my Beloved to cancer and dealing with my own breast cancer shortly after he transitioned. (Room darkening curtains you have your work cut out for you with this gal!)
“She is ideas, feelings, urges, and memory… She is the source, the light, the night, the dark, and daybreak. She is the smell of good mud …The birds which tell us secrets belong to her. She is the voice that says, ‘This is the way.’ ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I know this wise woman, that society calls crone, has been waiting for me to show up so she could lead me to this place, a place where I let my hair down in a way I could not have imagined possible after all that transpired not so many years ago.
Sigh. (Trite phrase warning …)
“If I knew then what I know now … Youth is wasted on the young.”
“Why would you engage in such nonsensical talk?” my crone asks while continuing to weave her tapestry of delightful dreams. “You are here now, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am,” I reply.
My capacity for passion, delight, and the simple pleasures found in each day is so much greater than what I knew or could even appreciate in the youth our society seems to place at the altar of “things we value.”
Five years ago, I never imagined how tears and laughter could coexist and cast so much light in such a dimly lit room.
It appears that youth was not wasted on the young but harvested for this woman with a one candle body. She is letting her hair down. Anyone out there care to join me in challenging Mr. Webster to create a new definition for “crone”?
So Much Love Winging Your Way, dEAr hEarTs. XO Bernadette
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