Meet Jo. She is an 84, soon to be 85 year old woman (her words) that boarded the shuttle with me this afternoon. She is here at The Ghost Ranch to take a seminar exploring where we are in this world. The longer I sat beside her the more I liked her. Later this afternoon just before dinner I came up to a table where she was sitting with two young girls and the three of them were laughing and telling stories.
The young girls soon hopped on their bikes and it was just Jo and myself sitting under a big tree. She started telling me about losing two husbands, about building a new house at the age of 80 when all her friends told her that she should be thinking about a retirement home and instead, she was deciding where to dig the pond.
I asked if I could ask her a personal question and she didn’t hesitate to say that no, she didn’t mind. “What do you attribute your amazing state of mind and health to?” It’s something that I think about constantly. Her answer was that her mother had died at the age of 105 and had finally moved in with her at the age of 101. “Good genes I guess.”
I am here at this ranch, which covers 21,000 acres, and there is every age represented. On the shuttle I overheard some women in the back seat proclaim that this is where they want there ashes strewn when they die. Image their response when I piped in that I wanted my ashes strewn in the West Milford Dump. I explained that it was a recycling facility and that I would end up in everyone’s garden and they let me stay in the van.
In speaking with a friend this morning I mentioned that I was trying very hard to remain calm and not let my nerves send me hiding into a corner. She was surprised to hear that coming from me and I simply told her it was a childhood thing and left it at that. Growing up in a poorly educated family and never feeling particularly smart or accomplished in anything as a child I learned to hide my ignorance very well and tried to avoid situations where my lack of knowing would be exposed. I was always keenly aware of my shortcomings growing up and that is a very hard habit to break. I think that is why I am always so happy to be self-taught and work alone – that way no one knows if I don’t know how to do something.
Now, here I am about to have my skills examined in very close quarters by brilliantly talented artists. Over the years I have worked very hard to embrace what I don’t know and what others do know and the wondrous fact that people are willing to give their knowledge to people who are eager to receive it.
Class starts in the morning at 9am!
I started my journey into jewelry making in 2005 while I was working in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, an area inundated with amazing artisans. I started with glass, which led to silver, which led to inlay, which led to joy.