Posted by Psyche’s Call with Donna May
“Everything grows old,
all beauty fades,
all heat cools,
all brightness dims,
and every truth becomes stale and trite.
For all these things have taken on shape,
and all shapes are worn thin by the working of time;
they age, sicken, crumble to dust —
unless they change.”
— C.G. Jung
And here we are again, peering as we do at the cost of time, the changes we meet, the deaths we mourn. So vain in our self-centered views we easily forget that we can hold on to nothing. Change calls out, “Ready or Not! Here I Come!” And that, as always, is the way things are.
“Women have another option. They can aspire to be wise, not merely nice; to be competent, not merely helpful; to be strong, not merely graceful; to be ambitious for themselves, not merely for themselves in relation to men and children. They can let themselves age naturally and without embarrassment, actively protesting and disobeying the conventions that stem from this society’s double standard about aging. Instead of being girls, girls as long as possible, who then age humiliatingly into middle-aged women, they can become women much earlier – and remain active adults, enjoying the long, erotic career of which women are capable, far longer. Women should allow their faces to show the lives they have lived. Women should tell the truth.” Susan Sontag – The Double Standard of Aging (1972)
Annie Leibovitz – portrait of Susan Sontag.
It seems to me that the double standard of aging is yet worse today than days gone by, with women being the biggest perpetrators of deception themselves. Well, women and marketing. Marketing and products. It’s not easy to find original and simple of anything anymore, much less “beauty” products. Buying face lotion is a lesson in patience getting past the rejuvenating and replenishing and restoring with vitamins and retinol A thru z. Removing wrinkles and spots and age itself is easily bought over the counter—surgery in a bottle. And then the surgery itself—beyond Botox in a needle—is available to everyone, not just models and movie stars. Oi! So it appears as if women have to have the courage to just be themselves, not as a member of a group. The group itself (of aging women) is splintered the same as so much in our world today. Put this in the corner of “Self Matters.”
And Oh My! I saw this and could only puzzle over it. I don’t know the artist or the location or the time period. Someone did point out the shoes, suggesting the Netherlands or Holland. I suppose the time period is irrelevant. But I don’t know the suggested meaning. A title by the artist always helps a great deal. At least it could point us in the right direction.
The Psychedelic Museum
I understand that meaning is subjective and we can take or give whatever it is that is suggested to us. But. When I look at this I wonder if it is the skeleton of the person who lives here or if the skeleton is waiting for the person who lives here.
Or. Does the skeleton not exist for the person who lives there, the unbidden reminder of the death that awaits us all? Is it a specter? Is it that one place is set and the other is forever waiting for what or who will join us?
I do note that the skeleton is quite tired, his (or her) head tilted downward. And yet, the candle is still lit, and is new. In any case, I am fascinated by this portrait of puzzlement. Oh…oh…another thought. Is it perhaps Time that is waiting and dying at the table we have yet to join?
So you see, wouldn’t a title help? Or is one of the central reasons this is so enchanting that we don’t know?
Les Fauves / The Wild Beasts
Auguste Herbin (French, 1882 – 1960)
Bateaux a voiles 1907
oil on cardboard 52 x 65 cm
Sails always make me think of time. I’m not sure exactly why, perhaps because of the movement. But boats alone don’t feel that way, nor does water, open or not. Maybe some long lost association from childhood, or a passing comment. The mind always a gyre of secrets and stories.
“There is another world, but it is in this one.”
~ W.B. Yeats
Old Moss Woman’s Secret Garden
Once, many years ago, in a park, I left this world for another. I don’t know how I got to the park, why I was there. It may have been part of some event—a birthday, a picnic—something. I walked off by myself, following the chain-link fence that separated the park from the river flowing by on the other side. Perhaps I was looking for a break in the fence so that I could sit next to the water, dangle my feet in the current. I didn’t find a break in the fence, but I noted a duck nest and a mama duck, the dull mallard color denoting the female, blending with the undergrowth next to the fence. It was stepping down, bending past the nest, into it that left the waving air of ether that pushed me into itself. I don’t know how long I was there, inside that funnel of other, or what it meant. I just knew that I was there. I had a sense that I was invisible to the people standing outside, though I didn’t know for certain. I could not see out. I was just there. And then I walked out, the other end away from the duck nest. I tried to go back, to find the nest again, but I could not. I went back to the picnic, joined some others—strangers I knew. And then the day passed like any other, like thousands of other days in a park where we would eat sandwiches and laugh in the sunlight, spend those infinite high school days of summer.
Some weeks later, much later, I tried to find the park again. That was strange too, as I don’t recall ever being there before or since. I don’t know how I found it, but I did. I took the walk along the fence, watching the undergrowth as I went, willing the nest to reappear. But it did not. No matter how much I looked or how far I walked, I could find nothing. No nest, no doorway, no path. Nothing. Perhaps I had taken some flight of fancy, launched some capsule of time which only landed in memory. And then, on that day, it returned to the nothingness of disbelief.
And just how it came to be, I have forgot.