Howling at the Edge of Chaos is closing on Saturday. Valerie J. Mitchell opened in Beacon a year and a half ago, and created a store that showcases artists' creations that "howl their truth," which is the store's motto. Valerie was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer in June. Less than three months after her treatments ended, she has learned that the cancer is back. It is in her liver and colon and she is considered terminal. Valerie says that she has chosen quality of life, and is not pursuing treatments. She will be traveling with family and being at peace with her next steps.
The lights have been on in the store hit or miss, in between doctor's appointments. We stopped in and made a few purchases (pictured above) yesterday, making sure to get in while she was open, pushing aside any other commitments that were on the calendar. Howling at the Edge of Chaos is at 428 Main Street in Beacon, NY, which is that tiny sliver of a store next to the Beacon Hotel, just down the block from Ella’s Bellas.
Two Lessons Here
A first impulse for some has been to reach out to help. Valerie’s passion is spreading truth and awareness, and so far she is doing both: about ovarian cancer, but also about supporting local businesses.
First: Valerie wove into her shop's mission to get out the truth. Her storefront window was dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness, as it is one of the most silent and swift of the cancers that often goes undetected. She wants more people to be aware of their bodies and to stay in front of them. A Little Beacon Blog will be sharing an ovarian cancer awareness post to help spread the word and educate about early signs.
Second: After Valerie and I hugged and laughed a lot about anything and everything at all, Valerie made sure to tell me about the “Just A Card” campaign. She's very eager to sell everything in the store, so do go in. The shop is very festive, with her sparkly Christmas trees and music (see our Instagram video). The "Just a Card" campaign is one that sends the message that if every person who walked into a shop and expressed their love and appreciation for it just "bought a card" - however small the purchase - it helps the store continue and prosper.
A personal regret of mine has been not buying more from Howling at the Edge of Chaos. Many times, I have walked past the store and seen her posts of rings and necklaces on Instagram from different artists she carries, and each time I thought: “Beautiful! I want that! But I'll treat myself to that later when I deserve a treat."
Later may never come. Out of this entire galaxy of time, we only live for 100 years of it, if that. Some of us only have 36 years, or 17 years, or 9 years, or 2 years. Don't wait for later. If you want this beauty in your life - these shops, these people who set up the shops and take big risks to be here - go inside. Treat yourself. Make someone happy with a gift.