Spring is coming.
There is a distinctly world-bite-woman sense that has enveloped me now that my time to hot flash has come just as my home has emptied of my daughters. Am I to be my own hearth now that no one else needs my heat?
My first hot flash came this past Tuesday; all of a sudden a hotness welled up in me, warming me, then heating me like an overworked furnace, and then it was gone. It felt orgasmic in the way that it rolled into me, captivating me with its intense sense of my physical self. This intense focus on sensation was sensual, except for my frantic struggle to rip off my sweater in the middle of talking about the Holocaust to 25 14-year-olds.
But it is not only heat that gathers me into myself: I’m also having cold flashes. Granted, it is a winter’s winter, but it is more than that. The same rolling into me, the same forcing me to notice myself as with the hot flash, but this is cold, so cold that I shiver within and the thickness of sweater has no impact.
This is the season of my seasons. What’s the message? Now that I am too old to begin a life, am I to be a world unto myself? Or am I to notice that I have already become that world? These flashes are more like news flashes than obituaries to my reproductive self, telling me to release expectations and their disappointments, and pushing me from the botany of feverish spring to autumn’s solemn harvest. As my daughters fill with spring’s hopes and fears, I try to shed mine, helped by these flashes that flush out what has lost its usefulness. What should remain? All that I can be, without all that I wished I could be. A recollection of what was and shiver for what still may be, me.