My Love Hate Relationship with Fall

Fall is my favorite season, and has been since I was a child. The temperatures become bearable, at least initially. The air in Vermont starts to smell of wood stoves burning, which invokes a feeling of comfort. The leaves change and display an array of beautiful colors; I love the sound of leaves rustling as I walk through them. My father once told me that as a child he used to call the foliage “lollipop land”, and when I look at the mountains as the leaves peak, I remember my dad and I smile. 

Another reason I love fall is that I am an October baby, and birthdays are a happy occasion for most people. My father was in the marijuana business, so September and October were the months for harvesting. Marijuana is a pretty valuable cash crop, so I associate this time of year with abundance. When Dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday, the answer was undoubtedly, “good head nugs!” and I always managed to get a good amount for my head stash. I also earned weed by helping with some of the tasks associated with harvest, but my main job was the tedious trimming of the plants. 

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays; being an entertainer, I always enjoy dressing up and taking on a character, though I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in years. Being a semi-pagan, Halloween, aka Samhein, is the New Year; other cultures celebrate La Dia de Los Muertos – the day of the dead. It is said that on this day, the veil between the spirit world and our world is at its thinnest, and I believe this to be true. 

As sunlight decreases and darkness comes earlier, we get less vitamin D because there isn’t as much sun for us to absorb. Our bodies’ cycles change. People get colds and the flu starts to reappear; these illnesses spread from one person to another. And for those of us with chronic health conditions, this season also means flares of pain and other symptoms. 

Being a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer, this time of year really affects my disease. My joints ache and getting out of bed is a really challenging task some days, especially because of the morning stiffness associated with RA. The colder, damper weather really makes my body hurt. My back also seems to act up when my RA acts up, because inflammation affects my spine as well. This means I have increased pain and spasms down my leg. Lately, my hips have been hurting more than they ever have. 

I’m sick with a cold right now, my entire body aches, and I am exhausted. Colds tend to linger a lot longer for people with autoimmune issues. I’ve been sick for a little over a week and while I am better than I was a few days ago, I’m still beat. I have no motivation and it would be really easy for me to sleep my life away. As much as I’ve hated and avoided resting and taking care of myself in the past, I now know that I have no other choice but to resign and let colds and flares run their course. If I neglect to take care of my health conditions, the consequences are rather unpleasant. 

About a month ago, I was conversing with somebody who said that “fall is a time of balance” and I agreed. I had never really thought of it that way before, but it makes sense. As a libra, my sign is associated with balance, but of course, it seems my biggest struggle in life is to find that elusive balance. I look at how many things I enjoy about fall, as well as the things that I loathe, and I realize, that this is indeed a time of balance. The trick is learning how to be at peace with the extremes I experience during this season. 

 

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