I’ve just returned from 2 1/2 weeks vacation running the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. No phones, no email, no distractions save beauty beyond my wildest imaginings. Slowing down to geologic time is gloriously rejuvenating. (Yes, I’m aware that there were blog entries while I was out of touch – I wrote them before leaving technology in the rear view mirror and my magical webmaster, Bill, posted them for me.) While I have been lucky enough to float the Canyon 12 times so far: I never tire of it. My husband and I were married years ago in one of it’s beautiful side canyons.

One of our honorary Venuses is a river guide extraordinaire for Grand Canyon Dories. (www.oars.com) Ote Dale (short for Coyote,but that’s another story) has been rowing a wooden dory boat down the Colorado, sharing her love of botany and the glories of the Canyon with others for 30+ years. She manages to snatch precious, solitary moments on each trip to indulge her passion for painting, creating fabulous watercolors of the place she loves most on this Earth. Her paintings sell as fast as she creates them.

Now at age 50+, Ote is planning a private trip down the River. (During her off-time, of course.) All her friends and family have asked if they can come along. "Sure," she says. "As long as you realize that this trip is "all about me". I’m not working this trip around any other preferences, needs, or wants other than my own. If I want to paint all day at a place and only travel four miles downstream on a given day, that’s what I’ll do. If I want to make a long day pushing through to one of my favorite canyons, that’s also what I’ll do. If you can deal with just coming along for the ride, you’re more than welcome."

For the first time, Ote is going to experience the Canyon on her own terms, without guiding, caretaking, feeding, or helping anyone else. Sound selfish? Not to a midlife woman, who has spent much of her life focused outward on others’ needs and desires. Suddenly, with the advent of the Change(s), she realizes that if she is ever going to indulge her heart’s desire, the time is now. The granting of her fondest wish has been put off for far too long. Coming to grips with the reality that our time on this planet is finite, we menopausal goddesses all need to create a guilt-free time and space that is "all about me". Ote, thanks for leading the way!

To see some of Ote’s watercolors, click below or visit http://web.mac.com/otedale