the song ended.
The staff was alerted that it was nearly time to shut down the venue but there were still rowdy guests out on the dance floor.
When he came to investigate, he looked around expecting to find a few intoxicated old ladies, instead he found us, a group of girls who had formed a circle, and said, “Oh! check out you guys!” We all waved to him and kept dancing our hearts out to “Build Me Up Buttercup.”
We continued dancing when the next song came on, knowing our time was limited and bathed in that particular happy light only a group of lifelong friends can produce.
I looked around at the circle of women, all of us mostly sixty twoish, the assortment of flowing outfits adorning various body types. Life had been very different for all of us. Yet we all swayed in time with the music. everyone of us knew all the words. I danced next to a woman I had known for over fifty years and one I had met just hours before.
There were no partners. We simply danced, a vibrant moving flower whose colorful petals waved and moved in the wind. As we danced we tightened the circle, enfolding ourselves in laughter. We old friends felt the strength and glory that comes from a lifetime of memories. We had all been through joy and heartache. Life had given us some muddy gravel roads to travel and also some gorgeous perfect roses along the way.
I remembered all that I had behind me, the exquisitely beautiful and the painfully ugly, and at that moment, I felt every bit of power and support in that group that they too, were on a journey and we would all be just fine.
I love being where I am in this life. Behind me are the insecurities of youth. No longer do I hide as a wallflower, waiting to be asked to dance. I dance when I want to, regardless of having a partner. I love being with women my own age. We understand each other. We get it. We support one another. Gone are the small, petty differences we thought were so important. Age brings wisdom, perspective, and a whole lot of forgiveness.
The last song played and we finally said good night to one another, hugging tightly and lingering just a bit before scattering out to our homes, knowing full well that we would one day be together again.
It was a moment in time that was both finite and infinite.
Candied WalnutsMakes 2 cups
2 cups walnut halves
1/4 cup granulated natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits
Generous pinch of sea salt
Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon’s worth
3-inch sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon water
1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Add the walnuts to a 10-inch non-stick skillet. Turn heat onto medium, and toast the walnuts until fragrant, tossing frequently so they don’t burn, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the sugar, butter, salt, and rosemary. Let cook until the mixture begins to melt, shaking the pan a few times so the walnuts don’t burn. It will seem a little grainy; don’t worry. Add the water, and use a heat-proof rubber spatula to give the nuts a good stir until the walnuts are well-coated.
4. Spread the nuts into a single layer onto the prepared pan. Let cool completely. Break up any large chunks. Store in a covered container, in a cool, dry place for up to one week.