Tuesday, August 29, 2017
My husband and I were invited to attend a Heritage Days weekend in Union, the county seat of Monroe County, WV as mid 19th Century photographers. The weekend commemorated the skirmishes of the Civil War in Monroe County.
Despite the controversy surrounding Civil War re-enactments, living history events, and statues that offend people of modern sensibility, we decided to embrace the opportunity to visit a new location that boasted several ante-bellum homes in a community of less than 600 people that once was home to the two wealthiest citizens of Virginia.
As we drove through the hills of Greenbrier and Monroe Counties we embraced the beauty of the countryside as well as the blight that one often sees in rural areas that the 21st Century has left behind. As we entered the city limits of Union, however, we found a community that seemed part of a different world filled with fascinating people who had relocated to this small town from Los Angeles, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Kansas City or Saudi Arabia to embrace the friendly atmosphere, history, or beauty of the mountains.
Although the citizens of Union supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, the people who live in Union today are enlightened, modern, open-minded people who want to remember what came before, understand the history of time and place, celebrate their ancestors because they are family, and renovate the beautiful buildings that artisans built 150 to 175 years ago.
This is a place where children can play without fear, people look out for one another and embrace visitors, and those who were born here return after making their way in the world.
This tiny town boasts a couple of nice dining establishments including The Hall Tavern which has excellent hand crafted food and the Korner Kafe which offers delicious breakfasts including house made cinnamon rolls.
We were charmed by Union and look forward to a return visit when we will have the chance to photograph the lovely historic buildings and countryside.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
This evening I was somewhat shocked to discover that I was a role model for a couple of women more than 20 years younger than I at aerial yoga. The women using the trapeze next to me told everybody she was watching me for guidance. I responded that I struggle with some of the moves - such as a back flip - because I have problems focusing on using my back muscles instead of biceps. Never-the-less, she insisted that I gave her the impetus to try new potentially scary things.
To consider that as a women of 58 I am embracing new experiences and challenges and can give some hope to younger women that they can aspire to and achieve amazing thing thrills me. It is all about facing fears, celebrating the opportunity to try new things, working with patient & passionate instructors that focus on positivity and encouragement, and making the decision that age does no define me.
I love hanging upside down in the silk! I love swinging, building muscle tone and strength in a new way, climbing into aerial yoga positions and developing confidence in my 58 year old self in a new way. I have abandoned fear of falling despite the arthritis developing my hands. I have learned that I have strong bones that will withstand an occasional tumble because I’ve kept my muscle tone that protects my skeletal structure. I can fall and rebound without problems. My only physical limitation - the 45 year deterioration of my right ankle resulting from that ill-fated attempt to retrieve a cooling wine bottle from a third floor balcony at Harlaxton Manor in Grantham, England in 1978. The ligaments never healed. But I haven’t let that stop me.
Perhaps the purpose of this entry is to encourage all women of a certain age to acknowledge her strengths and to celebrate them because it can give encouragement, guidance, impetus and hope to those who will follow in our footsteps.
We women of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s changed the world. We cut through barriers, created opportunities for women to make choices, fought the good fight, entered the professional workforce into the hallowed halls previously occupied only by men, repelled discrimination based upon sex, developed off-kilter senses of humor, did not get easily offended, worked harder, learned that work / life balance really mattered, made smart decisions, accepted that it it not possible to “have it all”, decided what we did want, spread our wings to fly in ways we never could have imagined, and continually tried new things - like aerial yoga.
If what I do can inspire even one other women to reach for her potential, I have been a success.