Dreams Never Grow Old

Grandma Moses, The Oaks, 1954

Grandma Moses, The Oaks, 1954

Today is my 65th birthday! What happened? Where did the time go? This age seemed so far away— 65 was old! Medicare? Who would have thought! Thoughts flood my mind—what have I done that is noteworthy?—where have I failed?—have I been a good, loving mom?—am I a good, loving Nana? Well, the truth is I have done good, and I have made mistakes. That’s simply the human condition…

This month is also my 22nd birthday of sobriety. 22 years ago as I was in rehab for thirty days, the thought of remaining sober for one year seemed daunting. But here I am, still living life “one day at a time”. To this day I never take it for granted. And if I had not gotten sober I would not have made it to 65. I am grateful, humbled.  And I hope I am blessed for many more years! There is a lot I want to do!! Age is irrelevant. Growing older doesn’t mean quitting.

This leads me to my two great aunts, Alice and Ethel, who lived well to 103 and 109, and Grandma Moses, who lived to 101--all truly amazing women, true inspirations. Alice and Ethel, two hard-working women in a small town in Missouri, were cruising the world way into their 80s, and they always had a zest for life. Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860-December 13, 1961) was an American folk artist who began painting at the age of 78. Being a painter was a childhood dream, but her difficult farm life prohibited her from pursuing her dream. At age 92 she wrote, "I was quite small, my father would get me and my brothers white paper by the sheet. He liked to see us draw pictures, it was a penny a sheet and lasted longer than candy."  It was her dad’s encouragement that fed her passion to paint. She never forgot that, and her dream came true.

The New York Times said of her: “The simple realism, nostalgic atmosphere and luminous color with which Grandma Moses portrayed simple farm life and rural countryside won her a wide following…”

Thank you Grandma Moses and Aunt Alice and Aunt Ethel for your gumption!

Streaming in Austria

The Schwechat in Vienna, Austria. March 2019.

This month I had the amazing opportunity to be in Austria again. Though I have been there numerous times now its beauty never ceases to mesmerize me; it’s truly magical.

What made this trip very special is I traveled with a friend, a musicologist, who is writing a book on Beethoven. We drove to out-of-the-way towns in the countryside outside of Vienna looking at different apartments Beethoven stayed to work on compositions as the “Ninth Symphony” in a quiet area where he could relax as his hearing continued to disintegrate.

My most memorable moment was walking along a path in the Vienna Woods next to a rippling stream (the Schwechat) in the area of Helenental, an area near the lovely spa town of Baden. I can’t begin to describe how peaceful it was walking along the path to the sound of the stream. And to think Beethoven walked this path many times composing in his head, yet hearing nothing.

I know I have written about Beethoven before, but I continue to be humbled by this genius. He lived with such a disability, yet created so many masterpieces. This should be a lesson for all of us--to strive to use our God-given talents the best we can, to never give up regardless whatever hurdles we may have to climb over.  And along our path in life, let’s remember to slow down and listen to the soft rippling of a stream…

What do you do to “listen to the soft rippling of a stream”?