“We’ve forgotten how to talk to each other,” laments Sherry Turkle in her latest book, “Reclaiming Conversation.”

How did texting become our primary form of communication, eclipsing in-person conversations?

Turkle contends, “We have sacrificed conversation for mere conversation.”

I feel like I’m living inside the song, “Stop the World I Want to Get Off,” as I reel from our climate crisis, Afghanistan’s unraveling and a new Covid surge. Mary Oliver to the rescue! I pull one of her poetry books from my shelf, find a quiet place to stretch out and start to read. Oliver’s poems are balm for my soul. They settle me. I’m not alone. Many of my friends hold Mary Oliver close to their hearts as well.

Mary Oliver in solitude with her beloved dog. (Rachel Giese Brown)

Oliver’s popularity rests on poems that offer words to live by–words that stir our very being, like these verses from When Death Comes, that are tacked on the bulletin board by my desk:

I have to make a confession: I have been a bad climate citizen. While I have been moved to the core by this summer’s record smashing heat, wildfires and floods, in response, I have done little more than wring my hands and exchange feelings of despair with friends.

The feminine perspective with an emphasis on climate justice has been sidelined in the climate change conversation.

This year’s list of summer reads are books that I got so lost in that I stayed up well past my usual bedtime, or overlooked social gatherings with friends. I’ve compiled a wide range of books to fit a variety of moods, transporting you to 17th century Boston, the worlds of magic realism, psychological thrillers, and important social thinkers.

FICTION

HISTORICAL FICTION

The writer, Lily Iona MacKenzie admits that she finds aging hard, but when asked if there are advantages to being an older woman, Lily offers a big smile, followed by the response, “I get to celebrate my wisdom.”

Mary Pipher, author of “Women Rowing North” in reflective moded

Adelaide Winstead, 92, an artist, loves the contentment afforded by her waterfront home.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day.

Bea and Randi, both in their 90s, feisty in their continued appearance at climate protests

Forgiveness is especially meaningful late in life. This is the time to wipe the slate clean, to do away with emotional baggage that prevents us from living in the moment. To quote Ram Dass: “The role of elders is to move away from ego into soul.” What could be better for the soul than to practice forgiveness?

You might ask: “How do I go about forgiving close friends or family that have hurt me”? For starters, regard forgiveness as a process and not a single act.

Recently we’ve been seeing lots of stories on older women going gray or white during Covid. Deciding it would be interesting to unpack these stories, I posted on the WOW Facebook page, asking women how they feel about their hair post Covid. I am pleased to report that the majority in my sample has made peace with their hair. Many felt liberated ditching their dye bottles. The racy ones went hog wild, posting photos of their neon blue or rainbow colored hair.

To Dye or Not to Dye

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and while it’s a joyful time to honor mothers, it can also be an unsettling occasion for those adult daughters with a pronounced mother wound. The holiday can reawaken a daughter’s memories of the maternal hurt she experienced growing up and which continues to affect her primary relationships. The mother wound can be traced to a woman’s proclivity to rejection, co-dependency and depression.

A mother and daughter in an all too familiar conflict mode

The good news is that the mother wound can be healed. The key is to discover a new mother story. This path takes time and might stir up unhappy memories, but ultimately a new mother story can be incredibly freeing.

Who’s the older woman warrior?

Gloria Steinem (background) and Angela Davis (speaking) at a recent Black Lives Matter Protest

The world needs the collective wisdom of older women. It needs our compassionate outlook in a world dominated by men who have lost their moral compasses.

Pat Taub

Life-long feminist, writer and activist at WOWblog.me

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