Tuolumne river © lynette sheppard

Why is it called Menopause instead of Menohalt? We don’t pause our hormones and childbearing status. We come to a screeching stop!

So why the temporary sounding name? Perhaps there’s a message here. (No, I’m not talking about Men On Pause, although there is certainly a component of that for awhile during the Big M.)

I wonder if we are Meant to Pause. Okay, okay, I’m probably reading way too much into this, but I just got back from a major pause up in the high Sierra and it seems that this deep appreciation for all things beautiful has been pushed to the forefront by Menopause.

Peace, enjoyment of simple pleasures like nature and music, reveling in the perfection to be had in the here and now.
Theresa Venus talks about this same feeling in her latest blog entry, wondering if resort living might really be a frame of mind rather than a place like Lake Tahoe. I think she might be on to something.

Case in point: Dewitt and I went up to Tuolumne Lodge in Yosemite National Park again this year. It’s a great vacation spot complete with rustic tent cabins. There’s no wifi and precious little cell phone service. No electricity either. A perfect place to unplug.

Add to that, hot showers and great food prepared for you twice a day and there are just no responsibilities whatsoever. It’s like going to camp without the overamped counselors and activities. Because if there’s one thing we Menopause Goddesses long for, it is unstructured, open time. Time to read, make art, daydream, or just do nothing.

Every morning at breakfast, we were seated with several other campers that we didn’t know. Inevitably the first topic of conversation was “What hike are you doing?”

“Er, none.” we’d answer. “We are just going to walk a little ways down the river and hang out. Maybe read a little and take some photos.”

This was a most appropriate question, since this lodge is the jumping off point for some of the most beautiful (and strenuous) hikes in the Sierra. Our answer earned us some pretty weird looks, and sometimes put a stop to all further conversation.

Still, we stuck to our nonplan. (One of Dewitt’s favorite phrases about vacationing and travel is that “The unaimed arrow never misses.” We live by that.

Off to the river we meandered with lawn chairs, books, cameras, water, and trail mix. Long days were spent rereading favorite books. (In Spite of Everything Yes by Ralph Steiner for Dewitt, Anne Lamott’s delightful book on writing Bird by Bird for me.) We swam and took photos, watched shadows and birds, and just filled ourselves up on natural beauty.

At dinner, we’d reprise our day when asked what hike(s) we did. Some confused looks as well as some curious glances were directed our way. Luckily, food arrived quickly enough to save us having to explain too much.

Our last morning, we were sitting at the table with two goddesses of a certain Meant To Pause age. They asked us about our hiking plans; we sheepishly reiterated our lazy ass, open-ended, goal less ‘plans’. “Wonderful,” they crowed. “Us too. Don’t you just love it?”

We do. We love it. And them. They came along just in time, reaffirming our commitment to Pause and reflect, Pause and relax, Pause and enjoy. Yep, from now on, I’m a Meant To Pause Goddess and proud of it.