As I have matured, I have made it a point to mark the passing decades of my life with ceremony. When I turned 50 I invited friends to my home for a “Croning” Ritual. Using valued mementos from important women in my life who preceded me into aging, I set up an altar and lit candles. I read aloud a number of poems I wrote for the occasion. I entered the decade feeling empowered and creative.
I marked my turning 60 with a lovely vacation in the Canadian Rockies with a dear friend. We hiked up into the mountains to view hot springs and ate delicious dinners in the reflection of Lake Louise. On the night of my birthday we went out to an area of dark skies and took in the brilliance of the stars.
When I saw 70 looming I felt I needed another way to mark this turning point. Five months before my birthday I took a workshop in using papier mache. As I completed my project I pulled out a couple of sticks and sought advice on how to connect them. Within days I found myself late into the night sitting with a dremel and a tray of glue for papier mache. Within three months I had almost 30 pieces lining my living room floor. My whole house was a cloud of dirt and sawdust. Every time I stepped outside I stooped to pick up twigs and shards of bark to assemble into sculpture. I needed more space for my art.
I drove up Mingus Mountain which stood beyond my front door and found the Old Jerome High School art studios. One was available. With a bit of trepidation, I signed the lease and moved into the space. I was greeted with sweeping views of the Verde Valley beneath me, and a group or artists to talk to, After 69 3/4 years of seeing myself as a poet, I realized I had become a visual artist. My pieces of sculpture were good enough to share. I attached a hangtag to each piece for space to write a brief poem about that work. And I began to market. The day after my 70th birthday I moved my pieces into the Village Gallery in Sedona. My work had also been accepted in two more galleries in the area. My eighth decade will be spent creating three-dimensional artwork!
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"