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Magic from the hedgerows

Still climbing

Elder-tree Mother by Arthur Rackham

I've been thinking a lot about ageing lately. Perhaps it's the winter coming on, or the fact that climbing up our hill takes more effort than it used to (for me and Tilly both). Or else it's just because I turn another year older on Friday.

Other woman have walked this way before; their art and their lives inspire me and pull me on. Patti Smith is one of those women. In her second memoir, M Train, she writes:

"I believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world. I believe in midnight and the hour of noon. But what else do I believe in? Sometimes everything. Sometimes nothing. It fluctuates like light flitting over a pond. I believe in life, which one day each of us shall lose. When we are young we think we won’t, that we are different. As a child I thought I would never grow up, that I could will it so. And then I realized, quite recently, that I had crossed some line, unconsciously cloaked in the truth of my chronology. How did we get so damn old? I say to my joints, my iron-colored hair. Now I am older than my love, my departed friends. Perhaps I will live so long that the New York Public Library will be obliged to hand over the walking stick of Virginia Woolf. I would cherish it for her, and the stones in her pocket. But I would also keep on living, refusing to surrender my pen."

Blessings on Virginia, but I, too, prefer to keep on going, my pen firmly in hand. Life can be hard, but it's also sweet, enriched by art, friendship, community. Onward, Tilly, onward. Let's go see what's over the next rise....

Tilly at the top of our hill

The quote above is from M Train by Patti Smith (Knopf, 2015), all rights reserved by the author. The art above is "Elder-tree Mother" by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939).

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