creating and reflecting elder beauty

Isabella and her Mama, Irena Sliwinski

Sidney Callahan has written a wonderful piece for NCR from her vantage point of 79 years of life, titled My days with the other old yoga ladies.

My own vantage point is from a few years past the 50 year mark. The 50’s is a decade when physical youth seems to speed away from you. It’s a time of panic at each new sign of oncoming age. Fifty year old women need models and mentors not only for graceful aging, but for showing us that the best years are truly yet to be. Callahan writes of the beauty of a woman’s body in her elder years; a beauty that reflects the inner experiences and wisdom of a life well lived,

My appreciative range for bodies has extended far beyond my habitual baby worship. Who can resist plump little hands and feet, miniature ears, big eyes and rounded foreheads? Our delight in babies arises from the promise of their future. With an aging woman’s body, it is the marks of past living that appeal. Engraved on the faces, figures and hands are decades of experiences undergone.

Think here of the aesthetic appeal of old houses and antique silver and furniture. A distressed finish and a well rubbed-patina attract our eyes. Fading flowers and autumn leaves manifest beauty. Trees filled with moss or gnarled by winds express variety. On the Maine coast we wonder at Earth’s history in the eroded rocks.

My own Mama, Irena Sliwinski, is a model and mentor of the giftedness of life after fifty. She didn’t begin painting seriously until she was my age. Today, she is an accomplished artist with her art hanging all over the world. She has sold over 200 pieces, and our own home is graced with some of her finest. This past weekend, we attended the opening for yet another art show of her works at the Fleet Gallery in Winnipeg. Last week, the Interlake Spectator highlighted her in an insightful article about her journey as an artist.

At 77 years of age, Mama continues to create and reflect beauty. An inspiration indeed!