I am eager to hear from you as usual.

Here’s a confession: I thought of this title and found it attractive; hence this blog entry! It can happen that way sometimes. One doesn’t always start with substance. Occasionally, form can come first.

The subject, as you’ve probably guessed, is menopaws. No, that’s not a typo. I think this is a more fun way to refer to it, don’t you? It was the title of a book on a friend’s bookshelf; a funny, illustrated book. It makes me think of a wild cat walking around casually enough on her paws, but ready to strike if need be.

Since about a year now, I feel rather hot… No, I am not referring to that kind of heat because I am not given to that kind of confession! I mean hot as in getting into the metro and feeling, oh I am so, so hot. It’s a good feeling, given that it’s so cold here half the year. Welcome, menopaws!

I’m positive about menopaws probably because I’ve never particularly valued my reproductive capacity, so the impending loss does not seem that bad. Interestingly, I also seem to be rather “fertile” in these middle-years. I am writing a lot of fiction and feel generally creative. Perhaps this is perfectly understandable, seen from the perspective of maintaining an overall balance of mind, body and spirit.

I am drawn to the archetype of the Crone, who I see as powerful. There’s this crone in me ready to break out, laughing gleefully, with perhaps just a hint of playful wickedness in her laugh!

Many societies have crone goddesses associated with birth, death, destruction and rebirth like the wild, Slavic goddess Baba Yaga, the Welsh goddess Cerridwen, and the Hindu goddess Kali. Hecate, an ancient Greek goddess, is said to walk about on dark nights, attended by a pack of hounds. She reigns over the moon, earth and the underworld. Ama No Uzumi (Japanese) is the Shinto ancestral Goddess of longevity, protection and psychic abilities, while Elli is the Nordic Goddess of old age, who defeated the almighty Thor. The list goes on.

The idea of an inner journey around the middle years is told over and over, practically in all cultures. The North American, aboriginal, medical wheel has four quadrants – North to East, East to South, South to West, West to North. The first quadrant takes a woman to her puberty, in the second she is maiden and mother, the third is a period of harvesting, ripening and maturity, and the last, which starts at menopaws, is a contemplation of the great mysteries of life. There is also a tradition here that the woman who’s going into menopaws initiates the woman who is going into puberty.

The ancient Hindu cycle of birth and childhood, the student years, the years as a householder and the final retirement to a forest to lead a more spirit-centered existence is not all that different from the above.

It’s a pity that modern societies do not mark rites of passage in any profound way. At most people celebrate birthdays. All the stages of life deserve their share of initiation, reflection and celebration. Imagine a concert with Crone Divas belting out variations of You Give Me Fever in a homage to menopaws!

Change, learning, transformation, breaking through, are part of the menopaws story, if we open ourselves to them. This is not to suggest that is an easy, painless process, but there could be a blossoming and becoming, if given a chance.

In the Western world (and among the middle-class in many countries), women now spend nearly a third of their life as crones. There’s also something called The Grandmother Hypothesis:

“Some evidence suggests that hunters contribute less than half the total food budget of most hunter-gatherer societies… so that foraging grandmothers can contribute substantially to the survival of grandchildren at times when mothers and fathers are unable to gather enough food…” (Wikipedia)

A utilitarian view, that! It made me think of all those African grannies looking after their grandkids and other kids in the community after their own children succumbed to HIV/AIDS or other deadly diseases. And there’s something to be said for grandparents just being around to offer love, support and stories. I enjoy being an aunt, and now some of my nieces have kids, turning me into a granny.

A women’s body temperature goes up and down all through her life, anyhow, in tune with the menstrual cycle. It goes up from 98.6 F to 98.9 F and beyond. I could not find statistics on exact temperature rise during the infamous hot flashes.

Anyhow, it’s hot, hot, hot! You guys are really missing out! (There may be some excitement to be had from andropaws if you were to acknowledge its existence.)

Meanwhile, the Earth’s temperature has alas risen by 0.75 C since the 19th century and expected to rise to 2.4-6.4 C by 2100 AD. (Ouch.)

As we approach Earth Day I am recommitting myself to small acts of kindness towards the planet and easing up on my aging, but fantastic body that continues to serve me so well. Care to join me?

Happy Earth Day! Happy Growing Older, but not Colder! (Remember Pink Floyd, The Wall?)

P.S. Ultimately, older people have lower body temperatures and less of a temperature range. Sigh. It just ain’t hot enough for me!