Women, when they are old enough to have done with the business of being women and can let loose their strength, must be the most powerful creatures in the world. Isak Dineson
I am not sure when a woman is “old enough to have done with the business of being a woman.” A neighbour of mine, a well-known weaver, died of cancer at home at about 80. Nel determined that she and I would knit sweaters for our grandchildren. I protested that I did not know how to knit. She would teach me. I protested that the instructions were in Dutch. She would translate. We worked away on the sweaters. Finally she said, “You aren’t going to be able to finish.” I promised her that I would finish mine. After her death, when her daughter took up her mother’s sweater to finish it, she found many uncharacteristic mistakes, due, she was sure, to the morphine. Nel had lived through the war, had once stood up to a German officer, had been in the underground. When she first came to Canada, she had joyfully lived in a wood shed. At her end, she had become a most powerful creature.