From Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause

It’s a Manopause Thing

Do all things with love.

Og Mandino

Spring comes to the island in interludes of fine weather followed by bitter winds and rain, often several shifts of each in an hour. It is our custom on the weekends to take the dog and walk to an area called “Butler Main.” Once a logging road, it’s now blocked off on either side to prevent dumping, allowing the natural world to grow back. My husband insists that I only walk there when he is with me, isolated a track as it is. He says it’s because of the bears, but I know it’s a man thing.

So one morning we dressed appropriately in layers. White T-shirt, followed by a long-sleeved shirt followed by a vest and jacket. The dog danced around as we also dug out gloves and headbands, and with that and the walking sticks, we were out the door. We were approaching the road when it came—that growing flash of warmth. My friend told me she thought they were more like hot surges then flashes, and I had to agree. I didn’t all of a sudden get hot. I got hot in layers.

The gloves and headband were stuffed in my pocket as we surged ahead. The wind was whipping up the tree branches along the road. Great! Welcome the wind! By the time we reached the entrance I had undone my coat, and not long after that had it hung on my arm as it brushed away my sweat.

I chattered on as we walked, noting the coming of new plants and the bones from a deer dragged here long ago. The dog scurried after wild rabbits as I felt another wave approaching. I took off the last of my garments; I was down to my thin white T-shirt. The wind blew and felt sooo good I couldn’t help but dance around in it. Suddenly I realized that my husband had been saying less and less. In fact one might say I was getting the silent treatment. I turned to see him standing there, scowling at me. In his hand were his jacket, vest, and outer shirt, and his skin was a frostbitten hue of pale blue accompanied by goose bumps.

“For goodness sake, put on your jacket!” he said to me. He stood with his teeth chattering. It was then that I understood. Not to look weak, he had adjusted his layers according to mine. It was a “manopause” thing.

“Dear,” I said quietly, “it’s not the weather, it’s my menopause. I’m flashing now, and the wind is the only thing keeping me fromspontaneously combusting. I’msure it’ll pass by the time we get to the end of the trail. Meanwhile, there’s no one else around. Put your jacket back on. I won’t tell.”

Gratefully, he nodded and layered himself once more. By the end of the road, I, too, was finally feeling the cold. I put my clothes back on just as the rain began to fall, and we were again visible to other country dwellers.

Yes, spring does have its seasonal outbursts, but the fall of a woman’s life can also be as changeable as a gusty, sunny day along the Butler Main.

Nancy Bennett

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