Saturday, March 12, 2011

Some thoughts while sailing toward 70

I'll be 70 next month, an age I never imagined becoming. Yet now it appears on my horizon. Of course, I'm happy to live to see 70 and to be healthy, creative and energized in the bargain. With people living to 90 and 100, 70 seems not that old (except to people 30 and below) yet it is old enough for me to know that I have entered the final movements of the music that is my life. As I have said before, the certainty that we are mortal puts a keen edge on the passions and dreams of those over 50.

I feel very blessed these days by the love and support of many people. Nothing ever gets done in this world except through responsive relationships with others, through collaboration, cooperation and friendship. I contemplate that often these days. I am deeply appreciative when people support my work, whether they do it financially, emotionally or physically (or all three--truly a bonus). Their support, the fact that they believe in me, inspires me and increases my momentum.

I've recently received $1,800 from individual philanthropists, including one donation of $1,000 and one for $500. My total fundraising goal is $15,000, so it may seem that $1,800 is not much. But it is much. It is vital. It is allowing me to take the next step with A New Wrinkle, my musical revue on aging. Right now I'm planning a fundraising event for April 23rd and in May I will work with the same group of singers who are so generously contributing their talents at the fundraising event to record three of the songs in the revue for a promo CD. The promo CD will be very helpful for further fundraising and broader media contact. It will allow me to give possible producers a taste of what's in the revue, too.

I really enjoy producing events especially when they include a variety of people and experiences, which this upcoming event will. (More details on the program specifics to come soon!) The event also marks my 70th birthday, give or take a few days. So it's wonderful on various levels. It will take place at the Ashland Community Center, a simple, old-fashioned hall that holds plenty of memories from the more than 30 years I've lived here in this artsy town.

Incidentally, the best way to learn more about upcoming Sage's Play events is to sign up for my newsletter. The link is on the Sage's Play website.

While I have been immersed in my own creative tumult and dance, events in the world continue to provide profound counterpoint. Like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with its massive destruction, including damage to two nuclear reactors. "Radioactive Danger Is Hard to Assess," says a headline in the New York Times today. There are people who assume the best about nuclear energy, genetically engineered foods and global warming, but I am not among them. Radioactivity is not healthy. And it's definitely on everyone's minds.

My friend Elaine posted some remedies for radiation exposure on Facebook: "Salt baths, carotenoids (found in dark green, red, orange food, and yellow fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, apricots, tomatoes, beets, carrots, kale, collards, chard, and spinach) these significantly reduce chromosomal damage in humans exposed to radiation. Seaweed has been shown to neutralize radioactive isotopes in the human body. The algin in brown seaweeds, for instance, binds to radioactive strontium to create a harmless and easily excreted compound. Black and green tea, reishii (a mushroom), beans, lentils, and garlic have also credited by numerous studies with reducing the harmful effects of radiation."

We are thinking about the people in Japan and praying for their welfare.

When I contemplate the various forms of devastation going on on the planet, I am very aware of how fragile and small we hubris-afflicted humans are compared to the immense forces of nature. My friend Elaine also posted a link on Facebook the other day to Aluna a movie made by and with the Kogi, a remote civilization living high in the Sierra Nevada in Columbia. The BBC made a movie of the Kogi in 1990 titled The Heart of the World. Then and now the Kogi are urging us to change while there is still time. This clip from the film Aluna really moved me. I usually don't write about environmental matters on this blog, but that will probably change. Creative aging takes many forms. Elders have a responsibility to protect and guide. It's up to each of us to contribute to the greater good in our own ways. We all want to safeguard the Earth for our descendants. That is a highly creative act.

Thinking about these things made me remember two poems about Icarus, who fell from the sky after he flew too close to the sun and his wings melted. Our culture and way of life reminds me of Icarus these days. One poem is by W.H. Auden and the other by William Carlos Williams. Here's a link to the Auden poem. MUSEE DES BEAUX ARTS

It's warming up. The daffodils have begun to bloom here. The violets, the crocuses. Tree buds are swelling. The hills are growing green again. Sending you warm greetings wherever you may be on this beautiful Earth.

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