Monday, April 21, 2008

My Flip Side

On retreat this weekend, there was a Dark Side/Light Side art activity. Despite (because of?) the fact that I don't pretend to be an artist, I've found spiritually-connected art activities to be strangely powerful.

I was delighted when I found oil pastels on the table. I've played with oil pastels a few times before. I immediately decided to leave the safe harbor of magazine image collages and draw my light and dark sides.

Without letting the fact that I can't draw inhibit me.

I played it safe at first, drawing a sailboat to symbolize joy and freedom. I then added a few pirate stick figures to represent friendship.

Any Puzzle Pirate friends looking on might recognize me and Scaggles in the drawing.

I reached into Puzzle Pirates for the dark side, too. First, I'll give you the image, and then I'll tell you what it was supposed to be.

When I showed this to my Friends at the retreat, they all burst out laughing. If I looked at it for a few seconds, it would reduce me to hopeless giggles. It is so obviously not what it was supposed to be, and yet, at the same time, perfect.

It's supposed to be a fierce and angry Kat, with claws out ready for the melee.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Body, My Self

After Meeting last week, I was eating lunch with a group of women Friends. One of the older gentlemen came towards me slowly, and carefully squatted next to my chair. This took some time and some doing, because he walks with a cane.

"Friend Heather," he began slowly in his unhurried, deliberate voice, "you are living proof of the proposition that less is more."

He met my eyes, smiling at me as I worked out what he was saying. When I smiled back, he said, "You look great."

We shared a smile for a moment, and then I thanked him. He slowly rose to his feet and walked away, leaving me to appreciate the joy of spending time with Quakers.

It was a few hours before I started wondering whether his wife had put him up to it.

It was a few days before I realized that I find old and young men more attractive these days than men my own age. A man at the next checkout counter at the grocery store smiled at me, and I was repelled. He had a pot belly and a bad hair cut, but what really got to me was the tired look in his eyes. Weighed down by his responsibilities, maybe. Whatever it was, it wasn't the least bit sexy.

I'm feeling young and sexy myself these days, having reclaimed my body from the years of childbearing and breastfeeding and painful disability. My hips move freely and there's a spring in my step, and I'm very much enjoying the way I look and feel.

I'm finding my path through middle-aged sexuality to be a place of exotic surprises, a far richer and lusher paradise than I thought it would be. I flirt with very old and very young men and don't take it too seriously. I feel freer than I did when I was younger, more sure of myself. I enjoy myself more. It's not at all what I expected to find when I got here, and I'm savoring it.

Fortunately, my husband is not one of the middle-aged men who has let himself go. He's still got his boyish figure and his hair. When he recently got back from a trip, I took one look at him and thought, "Damn, he's a good-looking man."

There's a lot to be said for old married sex, too.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Poetry in Motion

Today's schoolwork by Remus John, age 8:

I am neither friend nor foe.
I use neither sword nor bow.
I will neither catch nor throw.
I will neither lead nor row.
I am neither fast nor slow.
I will neither come nor go.
I make neither joy nor woe.
I will neither see nor show.
I sing neither high nor low.
I say neither yes nor no.

Various members of the family were challenged to memorize this poem. It proved to be surprisingly difficult to do so. After about the third try, three members of the family launched into a recitation of Hamlet's soliloquy in protest. When they finished, Remus John announced that they had lost the memorization contest.