Summer Postcards

We Earn Our Age

Full figured bodies on the beach are the best models to paint, especially older women who wear such fabulous expressions and don big sun glasses and strut that I-could-care-less-attitude along the water's edge. You can see the freedom on their faces. Their smiles revealing a song in their heart… I’m Free At Last, I’m Free At Last, Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last!

The beach is a place where pretensions fall to the wayside and where we can just be human beings, dressed down to the max, moving in our most natural ways. No facades, no bling or bam, no I-have-more-than-you-do-attitude, oh no, just scantily clad souls, reading, playing, swimming… searching along the shoreline for things the tide washes up.

No wonder Anne Marrow Lindbergh went to the ocean for solace. When I was middle aged, her book, Gifts from the Sea, was one of my favorite reads. In it she writes:

“Don't wish me happiness
I don't expect to be happy all the time...
It's gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.” 

This beautiful writer helped me regain my equilibrium when I was tettering along the precipice of middle-age-motherhood. I remember craving solitude. All I wanted was a few hours to myself so that I could explore my inner life. Anne Marrow Lindbergh reminded me that I simply had to find alone time. That it is a need, like food, shelter and water, solitude is a human necessity.

The older women on the beach with their hair sailing in the breeze and their bellies full of experiences and their round arms holding a book gave me a feeling of deep admiration.

No wonder we love the ocean. We form our physical bodies in water for the first nine months of our lives. Every time a fetal heart monitor is placed on a pregnant belly, the sound of the ocean resonates. These lovely older women on the beach remind me that we earn our old age, that when we give to our lives the best we can, we get to bask in the sun on a summer day, later in life, being a thing of such great beauty that an artist, like me, is compelled to paint her in all her glory.