I have been thinking about the women who have led the way before me, in whose footsteps I try to tentatively place my own. There is Mom, of course, my grandmothers, some of the muses I have written about here and some yet to be written. But I also turn to literature and books for my life guides. I found one last year in Mrs. Delany, as presented to me by Molly Peacock in her delightful book, "The Paper Garden, An Artist (Begins her Life's Work) at 72", and now I am finding one in Mrs. Diana Vreeland, the great visionary stylist and editor. Both women reinvented themselves, most remarkably in their 70's, an age when women are usually considered to be too old for new beginnings. Mrs. Delany entered one of her most creative periods by scissoring her famous "mosaiks" at 72, and Mrs. Vreeland began working as the Metropolitan Museum of Art's historical costume curator at 70. Their art is still considered timeless, beautiful, and important.
I've called this post The Key because yesterday, the day the ax fell, I was entering a friend's office building to collect her for dinner. Just beyond the glass door, I noticed something glint on the floor of the lobby. As I leaned over, I saw that it was a silver key. Not an ordinary key, but a gorgeous oversized decorative one with black onyx stones and diamante. It's special looking as though it would fit the keyhole of a child's playhouse or a secret garden door. And since I found it in a large empty office lobby, I pocketed it, rightly or wrongly and it will stay with me now. If one believes in signs of the universe, perhaps it is meant as a message to me, it so obviously shouts KEY. As to what it will open, I'm not yet sure.