So, I just has a birthday. A big on the big six-oh. It may or may not have been an official gateway to Cronehood but I chose to call it that – and in order to celebrate the occasion I went out to lunch with a Mother and a Maiden – the kid (who is now in her twenties) began our our acquaintanceship as a young teenage reader of my Worldweavers books and I met her mother though that, too, and the relationship has endured for over a decade. I have no natural children of my own body and so I “borrowed” this family to complete the enchanted triad – and, like a Crone Hobbit, I went to this birthday celebration bearing gifts.
I wrote them a scroll explaining and defining these gifts and no I won’t reproduce it here because it was between me and those two people – but I will paraphrase, and I will tell you what the gifts were.
It was three wishes, really.
My first wish for them was Adventure – the finding of passion in the business of living, of jumping at a chance to try something new and exciting, of never stopping the process of learning in whatever way offers itself, of traveling, of dreaming, of being the most fully aware and alive as humanly possible. At the end of the day these are the things that will transmute into memories which will sustain you as you start heading into the sunset of your life and start seeing the shadows lengthen. It is Adventure that will carry you through, Adventure that will be the trusty steed which will carry you through the difficult parts of the journey, Adventure that will stay with you when many other things are lost.As a physical token of Adventure I gave them each a necklace – back on my own first steps into Adventure I went to live in Africa when I was ten years old and back in the day there used to be sellers of things all along the median green between the main road lanes in the center of Lusaka. We bought lots of stuff there because we were *in Africa* and all of it was new and enchanted to us. There was a lot of malachite stuff there, because Zambia is copper bearing country and malachite occurs naturally in that kind of terrain; the serllers of trinkets and souveniers on main street made malachite into anything you can imagine, including these necklaces strung out of polished malachite beads. We had multiples of those. Two of them went to Mother and Maiden. Wear them and think of adventure…
My second wish was for Resilience and Strength and Transformation. When an oyster gets annoyed by a piece of grit, its response is to basically start wrapping it in glory, and what you eventually get out of the initial piece of trouble is a jewel we call a pearl. My wish was for the ability to do that with the aggravations of living a human life – to treat things that hurt or annoy as nothing more or less than a kernel around which to build something that denies it agency and power and transforms it into something else entirely, something strange and beautiful that enriches and makes stronger rather than annoys or upsets. The gifts that went with this wish were a pair of mother-of-pearl bangles, as a reminder of how to deal with the troubles of the world.
THe third wish was Love. It was a show and tell this time because I could not bear to give this away – but I was married with a dinky delicate pair of rings – a narrow wedding band, and a matching “engagement” ring with a diamond chip as a “rock” – nothing ostentatious or flashy, almost too fragile to exist, but that was what was put on my finger as a symbol of becoming a wife (the rings were replaced with my “permanent” wedding ring a little later, but – eh – it’s a long story…) Those were the rings that synbolised what came after, my twenty years of contentment with a good man who adored me and spent every waking hour trying to ensure my happiness. It was the greatest thing I could wish for, that they find the same thing in their lives, that life would be that kind to them.
And so I gave them those things, those wishes, with a Crone’s blessing and I released them to live those gifts. (They came bearing gifts too – my Maiden, bless her, told me she had “researched” what kind of things to put in a basket – and yes it had to be a basket – and I ended up with a dragonfly coffee mug, chocolate, white tea with infused rose petals, and a deep red silky pashmina which resonated with Crone Power… and a tiara…)
And so, I am sixty.