Although Elderwoman, as its title implies, was written specifically for ‘third age’ women, I have been surprised and delighted by the number of men who have written to tell me they enjoyed it too. But my list of ‘Elderwoman Principles’ is probably appropriate for both genders.
One principle I didn’t include—although in a sense it is covered, in a way, by several of the others, is the principle of wildness
‘Wild’ is not an adjective one often hears applied to older folk. And yet, when I read the following passage on page 414 of Bill Plotkin’s book Nature and the Human Soul (New World Library, 2008) it set my heartstrings twanging. That’s why I want to share it with you. Bill wrote:
“A genuine elder possesses a good deal of wildness, perhaps more than any adult, adolescent or child. Our human wildness is our spontaneity, our untamed vitality, our innocent presence, our resistance to oppression, and our rule-transcending vivacity and self-reliance that social convention can never contain. We are designed to grow deeper into that wildness as we mature, not to recede from it. When we live soulcentrically, immersed in a lifelong dance with the mysteries of nature and psyche, our wildness flourishes. A wild elderhood is not a cantankerous old age or a devil-may-care attitude, nor is it stubbornness or dreamy detachment. Rather, the wildness of elderhood is a spunky exuberance in unmediated, ecstatic communion with the great mysteries of life—the birds, fishes, tress, mammals, the stars and galaxies, and the dream of the Earth”
Wow! Isn’t that great? I wish I could write like that!
(Thanks to Jay Luttman-Johnson for the picture. It is one of my favourites.)