Well-Seasoned Crones


In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. – Albert Camus.

In the spring of our lives, we hopped, skipped or jumped. Walking slowed us down. Handsome princes, fairy godmothers and Wiley Coyote shared the world with us. When we turned thirteen, our parents turned into ogres, we slept on orange juice cans, fought pimples with Noxzema and swooned over boys who didn’t know we existed.

Eventually we kicked the last of the eggshell off our feet and flew away into summer. We built nests and careers and morphed into ogres when the children turned thirteen. We struggled to find the pot of gold but never got close enough to the rainbow.

Middle age brought us autumn’s harvest. Our children flew into their summers, and we jettisoned philandering husbands. Busy re-organizing new lives and storing up for winter, we looked inside and met our spiritual selves for the first time. Together we studied art, planned gardens, wrote stories, traveled to dreamed-of places, and did whatever else we damned-well pleased.

Winter swaddles us now. Autumn stocked our nest with nuts and berries, warm blankets, savings bonds and social security checks. Unread books line the walls. Netflix delivers movies and operas to the doorstep. The Internet’s centuries of knowledge, wisdom and entertainment wait a finger click away. We no longer run or skip but walk slowly to savor all we see and hear and touch and smell. We laugh at our sagging bodies and the smile lines make beautiful wrinkles. We wear purple if we want, flaunt winter-white hair and some days wear pajamas until suppertime.

*Second childhood* means another chance to learn what we want to learn, dream what we want to dream and say exactly what we think about the world, not caring if anyone listens to us or not. Perfectly seasoned by the years on this planet, we feel at peace in our wrinkled skin. Not focusing on the time running out, we embrace the moment — the face across the table from us, the sunlight streaming in the window, the bluebird dancing through beams of sunlight, the owl hooting in the tree at the full moon’s rising above the horizon.

One day we will end, but we won’t mind. We had one helluva ride and screech across the finish line with hair on fire, excited to discover what really IS on the other side of that mysterious divide.


  1. says

    Ah, the seasons of our lives. I, too, like this one. You write the picture in perfect detail for a crone’s recognition and appreciation.

    • Ann Winfred says

      Thanks, Jan. You and your yoga class have done much to center me enough to put those words together. I am blessed to have found you.

  2. says

    I tried to see it that way,,,predictable,,,but it went down differently,,,however I did resolve with ,,,,,,,the way we start out isn’t so important as how we end up,,,you got free will,so,justice will always be plesant poetry and never fact,,,just take the poetry and do something nice for someone else,,,its the way the world works,,which is predictable.Thank God for glittering generalities,,,,,and even those slightly tarnished,that happen before supper. Thanks Anne,I love reading your stuff,,,.it makes me think about my stuff.

  3. says

    Your choice of verbs is perfect. Your ending “screech across the finish line with hair on fire” is inspiring. I never thought of it that way, but it makes me smile.

    • Ann Winfred says

      Thanks for all your help on this one, as with most of the other posts, Julaina. Wouldn’t be here without you.

  4. says

    Ann – I can feel the seasons settling into my bones as you describe the passage of each glorious phase of life. What I love best is the peace that settles over us “with our wrinkled skin.”
    Loved it my dear. It brings me calm.

  5. David says

    Loved it. Embracing the small events makes me happy: waking up to birds singing and not an alarm clock, walking the dog and seeing how happy she is doing something over and over again, opening a new book to explore. Glad you have found the time to write your marvelous essays.

  6. says

    Your words are amazing. Love this story. So true as we get older that we enjoy being in the moment. No rushing anymore to meet deadlines. Now we have time to explore different avenues. Meet new friends. Try new things. Say what you feel without all the guilt. Doesn’t matter where you live you can make that place your heaven where you truly feel good in your own skin. Too bad it takes so long to get there.

  7. Dana Tramba says

    What a lovely story. I just retired, with mixed emotions, and this helped me focus on what is probably going to be the best season of my life – The winter years.

    • Ann Winfred says

      Thank you, Dana. It’s good to know we’re not out there all alone on that edge, huh? Glad you stopped by and please do so again.

  8. Dana Tramba says

    I love your stories and shared this one with my writing group. “Reflections” we get together monthly and share our memoirs/journals what ever is on our heart. I finally just forwarded your website to them today. They loved your story! Thanks for sharing.

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