Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious
I finally met Beatrice, after a correspondence
of nearly five years. She is a subscriber
to a small magazine I publish. I liked her
no-nonsense, direct way of expressing herself
and was happy to hear she was traveling
through last weekend and would stop and
say hello. I am 54 and she is 70-something.
The car pulled in, the dog barked, I walked
out to the car and there she was, rummaging
in back for some plants she'd brought me.
"You must be..."
"And you must be..."
Beatrice's beautiful face was wonderfully
lined with many wrinkles--especially those
pointing to her smiling eyes and lips. I
felt my wrinkles from the inside of my face,
the way veils on women's hats used to feel
I had my hair in pigtails that day--a young
sort of thing to do, but easy--and so meeting
Beatrice I needed my wrinkles to say, "This
is no kid you are dealing with here; I am
Veils were a strange no-touch thing, a
sexy scaffolding of gentle webbing over
the upper two-thirds of a woman's face.
Lips were generally below the edge of the
veil and greased bright red, like a target.
Sometimes veils contained a spot or a flower
to enhance the display.
Wrinkles, from the inside, are pleasant,
soft, quiet, and pink like a baby's cheek.
Like a gentle webbing. I wore mine proudly,
and admired Beatrice's evolving array of
lines, wondering if she was enjoying hers,
too, from behind the veil. -- Jeanne
Hardy, Twisp, Washington
My mother had a mercurial temper. As a child,
I found her thermometer difficult to read.
One moment she would be quiet. The next, she
would blow. The result was pyrotechnic, an
eruption of words and physical threats that
would send me scurrying, scuttling, or flat-out
running for--I thought--my very life. Eventually
I learned to read the warning: when the "eleven"--two
deep vertical lines between her brows--appeared
on her forehead, it was time to shut up and
scoot. Over the years as she dealt with her
private agonies and concerns, as well as my
behavior, the "eleven" became a feature of
her appearance. I vowed that when I
grew up the wrinkles on my face would be laugh
lines, not frown marks.
Now, asked to comment on wrinkles, I examine
my 53-year-old visage under the harsh fluorescent
light in the bathroom. Nearsighted, I remove
my glasses and lean close to the mirror.
I discover wrinkles I hadn't suspected.
Laugh lines? Well, yes--there is a complex
map of tiny lines radiating from the outside
edges of my eyes. The deep lines that extend
from the edges of my nostrils and around
the corners of my mouth are really laugh
lines, I tell myself, although when I'm
tired gravity tugs at my mouth until I look
a little sour. But when I smile these deep
clefts are repeated across my cheeks. More
laugh lines than I know what to do with.
But what's this? These vertical lines between
my brows? I'd like to say they have been
caused by studiousness. And worry. I've
had my share, something I didn't count on
when I was a child. There has been anger,
too--some of it justified, some just temperamental.
Life has betrayed my expectations in many
ways. I try to learn from these lessons.
I look at these ghostly furrows, these eleventh-hour
warnings, and renew my vows. -- Lee Kirk,
What I have done to save myself from a thousand
natural shocks is designate my own Wrinkle
Weather Vane, someone ahead of me in the wrinkle
world, who points my future, wrinkle-wise.
Eyes on her, I have skipped on from mere laugh
lines and crows' feet, through the more difficult
terrain of dewlaps and elongated ear lobes,
all the way to cross-hatched cheeks, and crepey
neck. I won't say the trip has been smooth
even with my weather vane alerts, but at least,
no tears, no tantrums. My face is as it is.
I tell myself I'm home free--no more natural
shocks. So I tell myself.
Then why this pang when I noticed, just
yesterday, new lines on the face of my beautiful
47-year-old daughter? Surely they weren't
there yesterday. -- Maggie Kraushaar,
My dear friend, Marianna, who died in her
80s, once posed for my camera. I asked her
to furrow her brow in different ways so I
could capture the amazing maze of lines that
crossed her face and gave it such character.
She laughed, delighted and agreed. She was
beautiful. The lines show who she is. The
struggle to become a woman doctor in the 1920's,
the unacceptable marriage, the escape from
Germany in the '30s, the daughters she reared
in Iran, the full life she and Joachim lived
in this country in Berkeley, California.
Wrinkles also symbolize kinks, glitches,
ways that our plans go awry. I often find
that the unexpected jog in my plan is a
dancing lesson from the Goddess. And my
job is to accept that change with grace:
"to turn, to turn, it will be our delight/so
by turning, turning we come around the right."
(A Gift To Be Simple)
As a massage therapist, I see myself as
ironing out the wrinkles in the person on
my table--both body and soul. To smooth
out, relax and release the wrinkles and
kinks in the muscles, and to allow the person's
self, spirit to spread out flat and whole
on the table. Allow them to look at their
whole self without judgment, without wadding
up the place they don't like, and hiding
from themselves, without tightening up the
stomach muscles so they don't bulge, without
pretending that they are unafraid.
Each massage I start by asking Spirit (Sky
father from above, Earth mother from below)
to come in through me, to my heart, add
infinite compassion and come out my hands,
to make for the person on the table a safe
place to be exactly who they are, be comforted
and nurtured, and allow to change anything
they want to change.
Isn't that ironing out the wrinkles?
-- Barbara Millikan, Sheridan,
Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious