Review of OLD by Barbara Dickinson
Form changes, but essence remains intact. The material world dissolves, but the energy
that courses through us transmutes into something vivid and clear. How do we embrace
old age? Margie Gillis uses her body to illustrate this evolution, one that is punctuated by
highs, lows, loss, and discovery. As she navigates this new phase of her life, she invites
us to witness the depletion of the physical body with softness and acceptance.
OLD is a tumultuous journey brimming with possibility.
What is the magic of Margie Gillis? There is the moment when she breathes in all that she has
discovered, all that she has imagined, readying herself to communicate her wisdom, her
experience, her spirit. That filling is hard to describe, yet so visible. At that moment, and until
her final exhalation, her impact is incalculable. She grows with power in front of our eyes as a
soothsayer, an oracle, a visionary.
She steps into the light. Yet she is hesitant to begin. What will she encounter? She takes slow
careful steps upstage on sensitive soles into the questions, the memories, the joy, the
celebrations, the grief – oh, such grief. She looks back. Do I want to take this path? Must I
search these memories?
As she enters the space of her life, she allows us to absorb her potency, to become comfortable
with it, as she leads us with such careful intent into her world. She is a master of gesture,
enlivened by every shift of her inner being, every reliving of memory, every quicksilver change –
an absorption of life and living that gives her more to express, more to share. Who among us
has dwelt so closely within our experiences to magnify the joy, the grief, the knowledge, the
vision and then to prepare oneself to share them, bare them. The letters – epochs of
remembrance, grief of all that is lost, joy of all that has been experienced – they move through
her as she becomes even more porous.
Sometimes she is bathed in tender recollections, incredible transformations, or steadfast in the
pain of now.
She sits on time, angrily rocking at all the loss, all the anguish, all the memories. The storm
erupts from her soul. She is aflame with anger. She has become all source: symbiosis of the
storm of the world and of all the emotions swirling in the universe.
Every moment of her life is in her – this is what I am, this is what I have become. It is all still
there. Touch lasts; sensuality lasts; the willingness to approach, to live and to experience lasts.
She is at peace with growing older, she celebrates it, because it has given her so much more to
feed on. She is closer to being one with the universe and the wisdom that that brings. Life
presents abundant gifts for curiosity, just as glorious as before, but fortified by her expanded
understanding. At times she stumbles, she fears, she grieves. But joy is always to be found.
What are we leaving as we move forward? We return only in the traces of the memories left on
April 7, 2023