Read What You Cannot See

Erma reads it, looks at the video clip, and laughs. “I’m fairly certain Emily was talking about how poetry set her free.”

Sylvia, at first nodding in placid agreement, then quips, “Well, you got the gist, Erma. Others might, too, if they read and don’t just look at the pictures.”

Ever the realist, Erma tells Sylvia that she might be hoping for too much. “People want quick, easy, not too much thinking.”

“I know, Syl, but just for today – this last Monday in June – I’m putting aside my cynicism and counting on all of the women who are ready to set aside convention and set themselves free.”

Erma, once again tickled by Sylvia’s newfound optimism, has one final thought to leave with her friend before she heads back home. “From dirty to flirty, lickety-split? I guess that’s not too prosaic, although I’d hardly call it poetic.”
🐦🦚💐🐦🦚💐🐦🦚
They shut me up in Prose –

As when a little Girl

They put me in the Closet –

Because they liked me “still” –

Still! Could themself have peeped –

And seen my Brain – go round –

They might as wise have lodged a Bird

For Treason – in the Pound –

Himself has but to will

And easy as a Star

Look down upon Captivity –

And laugh – No more have I –
~Emily Dickinson

So Much More

The start to summer has Sylvia and Erma discussing the joys and ravages of basking in the sun, literally and figuratively.

Sylvia: Sun on my face. Sand between my toes. Fresh ocean air.

Erma: Sweat dripping from my brow. Sand in my car. The lingering taste of salt in my mouth.

Sylvia: Long walks enjoying plush, verdant paths. Sun-kissed cheeks. Evening cocktails on the patio.

Erma: Bees and bug bites. Crow’s feet and weathered skin. Sugary spills and the ensuing march of ants.

“Well, aren’t you the definition of a curmudgeon? A true crank,” remarks Sylvia.

Erma, tongue-in-cheek and with her signature sarcastic tone, lobs back, “Yep, that’s me. Ageless and timeless, my dear.”

“What? Ageless? Timeless? Those choice words are used to describe a woman’s looks,” Sylvia counters.

Erma, ever the teacher and always poised to debunk her younger friend’s perceptions, staves off any further commentary in one thought-provoking and accurate analysis. “Who says that ageless and timeless have anything to do with looks? Both are so much more!”


Less is More

“She tells her story in her face. When her life comes to an end, she can only hope that others see what she aspired to – a life well-lived and well-loved with some very juicy parts that kept her going.” ~ K. Morgan


Intoxicated

To begin the day with choices, her choices alone, and the fresh ocean air proved the most intoxicating elixir for her mind, body, and spirit.

Today – and who knows, tomorrow too, perhaps – she stands with her soul ajar.

Oh, Emily, I think you have known me in so many ways all along.
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“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”
~Emily Dickinson
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Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Unambiguous Vanity

“A gray mood, Syl, but when I think of you, I never picture you in gray,” Erma reveals candidly.

“Gray doesn’t suit me, not today anyway,” Sylvia admits.

Sylvia, taking an afternoon coffee break, ponders the seemingly innocuous comment made by her best friend earlier this morning when they chatted via Facetime, itself a rare occurrence for them as they rather look forward to conversations sans the impediment of visual aids. She sits on the bench in the great room, stares searchingly for clouds in her coffee, and finds none. Not a cloud or daydream to be had. For a change, she decides not to fret about the lack of creativity today. She is feeling melancholy which Erma obviously noticed, but she takes a bit of pride in her decision to go black and bold today. Taking the last remaining sip of liquid energy, she commends herself, “I’m not holing up or fleeing from anything or anyone. Let there be no ambiguity in my choices today. No gray. Only black.”

Today, black is decisive and almost vain. And isn’t that what we all need on occasion? Tomorrow, you get to choose all over again.
******************

“She also considered very seriously what she would look like in a little cottage in the middle of the forest, dressed in melancholy gray and holding communion only with the birds and trees; a life of retirement away from the vain world; a life into which no man came. It had its attractions, but she decided that gray did not suit her.”
~A.A. Milne
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#overfiftyandfine #womensupportingwomen

Uncomfortable Truth

The glare was annoying. Sylvia was seated and reading a book that she brought along for company just until her friend arrived, when the sun joined her. Although uninvited and unexpected, its appearance created the distraction and discomfort Sylvia needed. Blinded and warmed momentarily by the intense shine, Sylvia looks up from the not-so-captivating text and gives thought to how she might get out of the rut and routine in which she is mired.

Squinting her eyes and wiping a bead of sweat from her brow, Sylvia finds an unusual solace in the sun’s briefly overbearing presence. Instantly, an unfulfilled moment becomes a treasure. The truth of the day.

Beautifully Blinded

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The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
~M. Scott Peck
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Hats Off to Fascinating Women

Sylvia has been unusually preoccupied these first few days of March. The end of winter always has her dreaming and reflecting—even more than she ordinarily does! She dreams of places not yet visited, renewed purpose, and endless possibility. She reflects on the many stories Erma shared with her about how women wear different hats during different stages of life. Student. Sister. Wife. Mother. Executive. Housekeeper. And the list goes on. Erma always said that the most amazing friendships between women happen when we take off our “hats” and allow ourselves to be in the moment for and with each other.

When Sylvia happens upon a lovely duo who appears to be mother and daughter, she smiles and approaches them to gush about their obvious fun-loving nature and friendship. “M&M“—as Sylvia lists them now in her cell contacts—laugh; and then M, the beautiful, young brunette who looks ravishing in every single hat, offers, “She isn’t my mom. M is Mom’s best friend. We have become friends, too.”

The other M, the more experienced, mature, and equally lovely lady, adds that they have enjoyed a glorious and heartfelt day of love, laughter, and overlapping life experiences. Both of them said final goodbyes to very special people this past year. A powerful connection, indeed.

Sylvia, after sharing her personal story of loss from this past year as well and engaging in a bit of fun with her new friends, wonders, “What if Erma were here to share this experience? Sylvia is certain her best friend would be rolling her eyes and then nearly wetting her pants from laughter as each woman tried on hat after hat. Sylvia and the younger M would then have reminded their more seasoned friends of this new trend, “They are not hats. They are fascinators.”

Yes, fascinators! An absolutely fascinating connection between women that is sure to become a favorite memory.
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“When women hear each other’s stories, told from the heart, it gives us inspiration to keep on going.” – Elizabeth Lesser
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Fascinating in every way!

Extra Weight

Sylvia, feeling restless and a bit cantankerous this afternoon, closes the laptop and begins thinking out loud:
Strength is a strange concept.
“Be strong.”
“You are stronger than you think.”
“Keep fighting the good fight.”
Tell me again how strong I am and how strong you think I have been and I might just punch you in the face. I know I am strong, damn it. And I know deep in my soul that I can survive anything—ANYTHING. Well, anything other than my own death, of course. This though, navigating these last ten months of life after loss during a pandemic no less, has tried, tested, and depleted me in ways I never could have imagined. I have tapped into reserves I never knew I had. Most days my belief in myself and my determination to thrive and find the ever-elusive (and illusive) happiness wins. It beckons an inner strength which comes disguised as stubbornness and fear of failure. Strength, or maybe it is willpower, comes cloaked in a thousand thoughts of vulnerability and self-assessment — oh yes, and a smile.

“Just because a person smiles all the time doesn’t mean their life is perfect. The smile is a sign of hope.”
~Anonymous
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Sylvia’s Scraping Skies

Do you see that? Yes, that right there? I’m a part of that. Just an ever-so-small but necessary part of this microcosm. I say necessary because today I’m sitting at a table looking out on this daunting yet somehow comforting urban landscape and feeling that I belong. Lately as I’ve been sharing with Erma before […]

Sylvia’s Scraping Skies