Article Feedback, poetry and Walden


I borrowed Walden by Henry Thoreau from a library recently. It is a profound and wonderful book. My father gave me a copy of it years ago. I remember bringing it with me on a train trip to Dublin. Dad was with me. I was about to travel to Africa. I was in my late teens and I didn’t finish reading the book. But I was acquainted with some of its themes. Thoreau had gone to live deep in the countryside. My childhood home was a rectory in rural Ireland. There was a long drive to the big house. There were sheltering trees. Expanses of greenery and a river. I loved it.
Nature is a beautiful companion.

I recently wrote an article about the menopause for The Irish Times and I have had some lovely feedback about it. I have been interested in the menopause for ages. I even bought a book about how a woman ages in my thirties. It wasn’t of the uplifting variety. In fact when an woman who was a great deal older than me read it she seemed to feel it should be binned. I skimmed through its pages and hid it under my bed.

Some years later I went along to hear Leslie Kenton’s advice about the Big M.. The copious notes I made in that crowded room have been lost. However the memory of her speaking knowledgeably and excitedly about natural progesterones is therapeutic in itself. She was middle-aged and fabulous.

I didn’t delve much into the Big M for quite a while after that. However in my early forties I occasionally bought wild yam cream. It was supposed to contain natural progesterone and I rubbed it on myself. I’d heard that a woman’s hormones start to alter years before the menopause and it began to feel like a highly mysterious subject. I sensed there was a beauty to it though one might have to train oneself to find it. So I was very glad when I met some zesty older women while studying Native American culture in New Mexico. They seemed in on some open secret and their laughter was gusty and great. Knowing women like that helped me to write the article. Because the truth about the menopause is that it is entirely natural. It also affects women in diverse ways and it’s often hard to know exactly when it started. “I was pleased when menopause started” one woman revealed. “I thought of it as a liberation.”



P.S. Yesterday I went to hear Philip Casey read some of his truly wonderful poems at the Irish Writers’ Centre. It was a sunny day. Golden rays shone as he shared his words. Afterwards I shared lunch with him and some others in a cafe. It is such a pleasure to honour beauty.

In beauty may you walk.

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2 Responses

  1. Philip says:

    Dear Grace
    as your name implies, you are graciousness itself.
    Many thanks, and for being there. It was indeed a very special day for me.

  2. sharon says:

    Hi Grace

    Me again. Just wanted to tell you the exciting news! I found your other three books at Easons and bought them all. So if you don’t mind, I will bring them in on saturday, since its our last class, and please could you sign them again, even though these are already signed? I’m so cheeky, aren’t I?
    Thanks for the class today. It was really great and very helpful. Have a great week. See you saturday.
    God bless

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