My Wise Old Owl

These grey winter days I’ve been reading up a storm on Kindle. I prefer the feel of a book in my hands, but, living in Chile, English books are not readily available. Usually, on my yearly visits to California, I return with a supply of books but this last visit was different. My husband and I hauled back fifty copies of my memoir in backpacks and cloth shopping bags. No space for my personal reading choices. The problem with a Kindle book is that I need to underline inspiring thoughts and beautiful words. Some books are very special to me. I call them “keepers.”

Last night I downloaded a book that I know will be a Keeper: “The Wave in the Mind” by Ursula Le Guin. Some months ago I proclaimed her my blogger muse. I came across her name again on the Brainpickings website, a rich resource for introductions to the best in writing, writers, illustrations and books.

Le Guin starts out “Introducing Myself” with the words, “I am a Man.” That definitely captured my attention. Where would she go with this? Clearly, she hadn’t undergone a sex change. No, she went back to her growing years and further back in history to point out that women didn’t count for anything. Men were people. People were men.

Her words on aging resonate deeply with me, giving me courage and, yes, a sense of humor in the face of a youth-centered society. Le Guin, in her eighties, is funny and open whether talking about her ‘ten-hair beard’ and her ‘podgy’ body ‘with actual fat places’. She goes on to say that she allowed herself to get old and didn’t do one single thing about it. No face-lift. No liposuction.

I now want to join her to say with pride, “I am an old woman.” If only I possessed her wisdom, but I figure I still have time to work at it.

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