Sunday, January 1, 2012


What's more conducive to reflection than the first day of a new year that happens to fall on a Sunday? Although I've been busy all day organizing, culling, tossing, getting ready for a busy month at my desk, I've also been haunted by recollections, memories, and a strong awareness of time passing. It started this morning at the kitchen table with notebook, pen, and coffee in my newest favorite cup (from Anthropologie).
And continued when my daughter called as she walked on a southern Connecticut beach in 60 degree temps!

winter sunlight -
even in December
she walks the beach

I find myself anticipating a good year ahead while at the same time dreading it. The last couple of years have pricked with losses, cheered with gains, and awakened our dormant sense of impermanence. And just as I was beginning to feel that maybe my time to make a mark in the world was slipping by, I read about the passing of poet Ruth Stone at age 96 and was reminded about what she once meant to me.

a slant on aging
Ruth Stone didn't publish her first collection of poems until she was 40 years old. When I met her in 1995 at a poetry event at Caffe Tazza in Taos, she was 80 and completely contemporary in her dress, demeanor, writing. Her hair was long and henna-red. She wore khaki pants and a loose shimmery silk shirt. Her poetry rocked with pathos, humor, clarity. I bought her book Simplicity which had just come out and asked her to sign it.

a moment to change direction
I have to mention here that for those of us in the audience who were already of a certain age, she became our instant role model. When I spoke with her, she looked into my eyes and said the words that she jotted in my book:
Need I say that I fairly skipped out of the cafe? Not because she used the word "beautiful" (I'm not), but because I saw that age doesn't come with rules, and youth and beauty are relative. Stone wrote and published more than a dozen books in her lifetime. She taught until she was 85, received the National Book Award at 87 and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry at age 92!

Here are two tantalizing first lines from Metamorphosis

One day you wake up and you have a new face.
What's this? you say