For The Love Of The Irises

Iris 1

The meanings ascribed to the beautiful Iris are faith, hope, wisdom, courage, and admiration. Today, two members of our book club were married and began their new life together. This post is for them.

Iris 2

I’m calling them the Irises because they are the epitome of faith, hope wisdom and courage and I have boundless admiration for them both.


Today’s weather was so different, infinitely better than yesterday’s. The breeze is every bit as lively but the rain ended this morning, the clouds moved along, the sun is shining brilliantly and although in town it feels oppressively muggy, here by the lake the humidity is practically unnoticeable. In short, a perfect day for enjoying the pleasures of Presqu’ile.

Picnic spot

I have found another lovely picnic spot, mostly shady, right by the lake, in the eastern section of the south shore area of the park and… I’m alone! As far as the eye can see – looking in either direction – no one is picnicking except me. A couple of cars have driven by, a slew of serious cyclists have sped by but in this section of the park, I am quite alone.

Such a shame… This beautiful park is meant to be busy, active and enjoyed on such a glorious day.

“It’s true that all women of any age are discounted, older women most of all. But one of the great things about being invisible is that finally we can do anything we want, with no one watching over our shoulders. And that equates to freedom.”
[Billie Jean King]

For the next ten months at book club, we’re reading and talking about unruly women and chapter one is Serena Williams. I wanted to do some reading about other female tennis superstars and, quite by accident, I stumbled upon an essay written by the amazing Billie Jean King more than twenty years ago. It turns out Ms King is much more spiritual than I’d ever have imagined and her insights and thoughts are both entertaining and revealing.

Turning fifty. Turning sixty. Commencing Retirement. In listening to my friends, any one or all of these milestones were catalysts for change. The desire to slow down, take stock and search for clarity and meaning occurred within us all. Everyone seemed to want a lifestyle change that involved finding their personal truth and a deeper spiritual life.

“If we’re going to be discounted and not be as beautiful, well, thats our first taste of freedom, maybe for the first time in our whole lives. Go and be whatever you want to be. Get into the moment, into the now. To be scared is normal, to be not scared is stupid. But fear makes you lose the moment, putting you into some kind of nonexistent future, what might happen. If we go with the fear, instead of against it, crossing that line into action, we find an exhilarating new world.”
[Billie Jean King]

Iris 3

My Irises have undergone this self-examination which resulted in an enormous transformation. Both began adult life married to two very smart, funny and kind men. They had five children between them. Both marriages lasted 25+ years – happy years by all accounts. The children are all grown, have finished their undergrad degrees and are living outside of the familial homes. The empty nest situations allowed these two, very brave women to go with the fear instead of against it. The two marriages were dissolved in the most congenial of manners and the two women began new lives as single, lesbian women. They met at one of our book club meetings and the rest, as they say, is history.

This morning, in Peterborough, our two beautiful, courageous Irises put their faith, hope, and wisdom on show for all to see as they married and began a new life together. Not, as it turns out, the slow, safe, lifestyle of most retirees. Our Irises have purchased a camper trailer and this afternoon were set to begin their honeymoon camping at Presqu’ile. Neither of them has ever been to Presqu’ile before, has ever camped before and has ever driven a truck towing a trailer before. The past month has been a crazy-busy one for the Irises – learning to drive, turn and reverse with the trailer attached.  I know they have one of the most desirable sites for their trailer and I’m so very much hoping this beautiful weather lasts so that my friends have the best-ever first camping experience for their honeymoon.

One other thing, after their honeymoon, the intrepid duo are back home in Peterborough for a week of final preparations and then they’re leaving with their truck and trailer to drive across Canada – neither ever having done this before either. My admiration for these two gorgeous blossoms is enormous and growing.

Iris 4

‘Til next time, y’all…



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