Love life whatever your age

There she stands on the front cover—graceful and poised . . . and glowing.
Dressed unconventionally in an Indian sari with bangles up and down both arms. Challenging the world with humour and irreverence.
She looks for all the world, as she says, like the vibrant “thirty-two-year-old that I choose to be.”
You have to read the fine print and even then it’s difficult to believe this book, with its marvelous photos and quotes, was published to celebrate the 100th birthday of Beatrice Wood.
Wood was no ordinary woman. Before 1920, she already was established as a painter.
Then in 1933, she needed a particular teapot to match a set of antique plates. Since there was no such teapot to be found, Wood took a ceramics course and made her own.
She was 40 at the time.
Seven years later, at age 47, Wood had pieces in a group show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
She rubbed elbows with artists around the world and has been called “one of the nation’s foremost ceramicists.” In the 1960s, she spent time in India and from then on dressed in a trademark elegant, flowing Indian sari.
Time magazine quoted Wood, at age 97, as saying she was working “36 hours a day” to get ready for four exhibits. And at age 100, Beatrice Wood posed for the front cover of “Playing Chess with the Heart–Beatrice Wood at 100.”
In the photo on the book cover, Wood is not young. But neither is she old. She could best be described as ageless.
I recently rediscovered this 1994 book in my library. It is a treasure. Each page carries a quote of wisdom from Wood herself, facing a marvelous photo by Marlene Wallace.
Every photo catches both the essence of Beatrice Wood and the essence of life itself.
The cover photo is my favourite. It shows a warm, vibrant, ageless woman smiling wickedly and invitingly at the camera; a woman worth photographing with a close-up lens at the century mark. Imagine that!
It takes a certain amount of irreverence to be young at age 100. You can’t be too obedient to other people’s rules and decisions.
Oh, I’m not suggesting anarchy. Just a healthy disrespect for people who think they know what’s best for you; people who try to tell you what you ought to do.
And a firm, unbreakable commitment to following the dream in your own soul.
Beatrice Wood had an irrepressible love of life. The photos show her exuding enthusiasm. In her studio. In a pensive, thoughtful mood. With her dogs. With her cat. In a youthful pose. Glowing with delight at the potter’s wheel.
Smiling. Always smiling. Said Wood, “It is curious but if one smiles, darkness fades.”
And when Beatrice Wood smiles, the shadow of the future fades. The century mark no longer is to be feared.
Rather, in reading Wood’s wisdom and seeing her smile, you just might find the irreverence and enthusiasm you need to reach the century mark with a smile on your face!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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