Sunday, July 31, 2011

Love of the Blade

When I was a little girl I use to sit and watch my dad sharpen knives and this tradition continued even when I got older.  When my dad came to visit me he'd always sharpen my kitchen knives. My father always loved knives and swords and he had a talent for sharpening.  It was almost a form of meditation, the slow precise movement of the knife against the oiled stone, the sound a soft hiss as it passed over and over, each pass adding that much more edge.

I inherited my father's love of sharp pointy things (unfortunately not his talent for sharpening - that went to my son).  A finely made knife or sword is a work of art.  When you think of a traditionally crafted blade it's almost a work of magic.  Ore is dug from the ground, refined, melted, cast, hammered, folded, bent, shaped....some hand crafted swords take years to make and are priceless.

When I hold a fine knife or sword in my hand it almost feels alive.  You know whoever made it poured his soul into it.  I can understand why many swords and knives are given names.  I can understand cultural traditions concerning knives and swords and why many ceremonies use blades even today.  A sword is used to confer knighthood and swords are still symbols of leadership in the military.  Without swords and knives there would not have been culture, no advancement from our primitive state.  We owe much to the blade. 

I am drawn to swords like a moth to the flame.  I hold a sword and sometimes I swear I can hear it sing.  There is almost a sense of communion with the steel - who held this before me?  Did this sword have a name?  What has it done?  Where has it been? What has this sword seen?  To me swords are magic.

It's only natural that despite my serious tremor I find myself drawn to belly dancing with a scimitar.  She is a fine dance partner...and a nice addition to my collection.  While some women collect quilts, or dolls....this little crone collects swords and knives.  I'm so glad my dear spouse "Himself" is so understanding.

Le Petite Crone says: Never come between a crone and her blade!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Becoming Crone

I was asked the other day just what is a "Crone"?  Is it an old woman?  A withered, crabby, witchy haggard useless old female?  Are all old women crones?  How do you become "crone"?  All good questions...

While I'm not aware of a formal definition (other than the dictionary) of "crone" and there is no course you can take (at least any that I'm aware of!)...these are my thoughts.

A "Crone" is a woman, an elder woman but not every older woman is a crone...it's more than just being old.  I've seen women my age, younger and older who fight the aging process, refuse to admit that they are getting older and fear the fact that they ARE aging.  They try every beauty aid, every dye, every surgical procedure to hide who they are.  Others give up on life once their youth fades.  "I'm old, I'm useless, I'm just going to sit and wait for death!"  They feel that they have nothing of value to offer because they no longer meet their cultures ideal of beauty. 

Then there are the women who look at age as just a number.  These women are comfortable with their gray hair, their wrinkles, their stiff joints.  These women feel that this point in their life is not an ending of something but a beginning of a new way of living and connecting with themselves, others and the Divine.  These women are Crones.

You don't just wake up one morning and say "Ok, I'm a crone!".  It's a process and usually not an easy one.  Remember when you were a child...how everything seemed so amazing.  Even the most simple thing was full of awe and wonder.  Then you moved into adulthood - you spent your time working, raising a family, doing what "they" said was the thing to do....but now you are in your third age...you can either become crone and get back to that sense of wonder and excitement about the world or you can sit and wait to die.  Becoming "Crone" takes some effort.  It is not easy to put aside all your thoughts and norms from adulthood.  It's damn hard.

I work at being a crone each and every day.  I try new things, I open myself up to new thoughts and feelings, I try to see the world around me with the eyes of a child.  I try to give and even harder leave myself open to receiving.  It's hard work, but being a "Crone" is well worth the effort.  No matter your religious bent, being a Crone is beneficial.  I think crones have a lot to offer and we are a good example of how to age and live this last act of our lives gracefully.

Le Petite Crone says:  All hail the crones of the world!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Crones Guide to Marriage Part 4 - The Joy of Silence

Women love to talk.  I know this comes as no surprise to anyone, or as an average male would say "no shit".  Women and men view talking differently....I don't mean the type of talking we do to communicate necessities, but our leisure talking...what you do with friends and loved ones.  Usually women talk to share emotions and to bond.  Men talk to exchange facts and offer solutions.  Here in lies the rub (to borrow a line from Mr. Shakespeare).

When my dear spouse "Himself" and I were first married I'd come home after work and complain about my day.  Himself would offer solutions to my problems.  I felt as if he didn't trust in my ability to handle a situation.  I just wanted him to listen and share my pain.  In the end we both suffered the pain of male/female miscommunication.

Years of marriage and the wisdom of age has enabled me to realize that if I want him to share my pain I'm out of luck.  I can however just get him to listen if I say, "I don't want solutions, I just need to vent.  All I need you to do is listen and occasionally acknowledge that you are still listening!".  It's like magic....he'll sit and listen, say "uh huh" or "aw" and I'm so much happier...and so is he.

I also know that if I let him offer solutions that many of his suggestions are usually much better than solutions I've thought of.   I love to listen to his thoughts, thank him for his suggestions even if I don't use them.  He feels validated as a provider and as a male.  It's such a small thing to do...but an important thing to do!

There is an aspect of our communication that is new.  I've noticed that as we've aged we are comfortable with silence.  We don't have to talk constantly.  We can sit in the same room, comfortable with our thoughts...not needing to talk.  I don't feel as if he's "avoiding" me and he doesn't feel as if I'm "angry" at him.  We can enjoy each other just being.

Our ability to just "be" and enjoy each others company in silence is liberating.  I wish it had not taken so many years to come to this point in a relationship.  When you are together every day, every night it's nice to have the time to think, to be inside your own head without having to worry about what to say or how to respond in a conversation.  It's nice to know that silence isn't a threat to a good relationship.

Le Petite Crone says:  Enjoy the sounds of silence!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Crone's Verbal Peeve

As I've aged into "Crone-hood" I've noticed that I am much more blunt in my speech.  I tend to say what I mean, mean what I say.  I suppose I'm going to end up being one of those crotchety old ladies that the neighborhood children fear (if I'm not already!).  I enjoy my new found verbal freedom.  I'm not abusive in my speech, I'm just not going to avoid saying something that needs saying...and I'll take responsibility for what I say!

I remember my father being equally as blunt and myself being embarrassed over his comments.  I think I understand him now.  You spend your life watching what you say as a child...."Oh, don't say that...that's a bad word" or "Don't talk like that, that might hurt someones feelings!".  Once you get into school you have to watch your language around your teachers and of course every word you utter is up for ridicule by other students.  School is a hard time verbally.  Once you make it into the workplace you have it even worse.  Not only can a wrong word get you fired, demoted but in some cases the public can get violent!  Aaaagh...no free speech there.

Ah, the freedom of being a crone.  I'm young enough to know what I'm saying and old enough to not give a damn what anyone thinks!  It's very liberating!

Lately there has been a "verbal fad" that is, to be blunt, pissing me off.  This is one of my pet peeves...a verbal pet peeve that I would love to see die a very horrible death.  I've noticed that people say the most horrible things and then end their comment by saying "Just Say'in"....like this inarticulate utterance absolves them from the responsibility of what they said. 

 "Damn, that shirt you are wearing is about to pop!  You've put on a lot of weight...just say'in"

"All the politicians should be taken out and strung up...just say'in"

This is just another example of the creeping lack of self responsibility that is infecting modern culture.

Le Petite Crone Says:  I AM saying....and I mean it!