Fall is my one of favorite times of the year. I love to gaze out my window and watch the burnished leaves drift from weakened branches, leaving trees naked beneath the moonlight. It is the time when mornings languish in darkness, ignited by the sallow light of street lamps cutting through a haunting mist. Cars glitter with the crumbs of a first frost and crisp mornings give way to pastel afternoons capped with puffy rain-swollen clouds. In the evening, the fog rolls in off the sea and dissipates into clear nights where stars peek through the wispy remains of cloud cover. It is the turning of the year, the time to surrender one less hour of daylight and prepare for the inevitable initiation into winter. It is a time of conflicted beauty, for while I enjoy the vivid transformation from fall to winter, it is the season that stimulates the woeful vigour of my RA.
RA has haunted me for almost six years, and unlike those privileged creatures that sleep through the darkness of this season, RA does not hibernate – it is the ominous spectre that thrives in the damp chill of autumn and winter, pestering my joints with its invasive presence. In the morning, the crisp air crackles beyond the safeguard of my warm blankets and my eyes are swollen shut with fatigue. The thin reed of daylight filters through the delicate skin of my eyelids, urging me to get up, but I am weighed down by viscous limbs drooping under an invisible weight, like the frail leaves crushed under sodden dampness. I can hear the faint buzz of a chainsaw shrieking in the distance, singing the predictable song of another ghostly season. My vitality shrinks with the fading hours of daylight, and I hoard my energy to help me through the short clammy days that weigh me down in their chill gloom.
And yet, even in the midst of our darkest season, I am reminded that there is still a brightness to be found in the turning of the year – intermittent moments when the darkness is pierced by the sun burning through the afternoon clouds. Its golden imprint streams through the beaded condensation of my windows, warming my body, lulling the ghost of RA into a temporary slumber and filling me with hope. During my evening walks, I am guided by the flickering glow of jack-o-lanterns and the spicy scent of pumpkin mingled with charred firewood. I am enticed by phantom nights lit by the pastel glow of street lamps, and as I stroll by houses stringed with cobwebs, I can’t help but imagine the ghosts of inflammation being torn from my body and put to rest beneath the mock headstones that litter the yards for All Hallows Eve.
I am encouraged by the fissures of light that charge the haunting transformation of a new season. In these moments I am reminded that I can still be inspired by small miracles to get me through the darkest part of the season. The turning of autumn to winter is a time to reflect on how far I have come, to rest and recharge. In the glow of my jack-o-lantern, I am reminded that is it only a short period before the next transformation, and I can choose to ignite my own light in the darkness.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy All Hallows Eve – may you find the light of hope and wellness in the transformation of a new season.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.
So beautifully written.
I read it in awe. I do not know what RA is, although I will be sure to read up.
I have a chronic neurological disorder myself and I know the complete darkness that people who are poorly often live in. But out of something so sad and dark, you wrote beautifully and made it somehow seem so magical.
Lots of love and hope you cope as well as possible x
Thank you for your kind words and welcome. An illness of any kind is difficult to bear, but I wish you wellnes in your daily battle and hope you have more days of light than darkness. Thank you for sharing your experience. Stay well.
So lovely. Thank you for your kind words back. <3
Lovely descriptions. Just a shame that your RA gets worse at this time of the year. Autumn is my favourite season too,
Yes, unfortunately the damp and cold aggravate my RA, but I manage as best I can through the winter months and look forward to the dry heat of summer. Hope you are well and enjoying the colours of fall. Best, J.G.
you write so beautifully. Thank you for how lovely you express the old lady. I’m on the couch, sick. I always get sick in the fall – it’s the time that my immune system gets so overloaded with outdoor allergens, plus the germs that run rampant through the office and all public places. However, it’s been rejuvenating to sit and really appreciate the colors changing outside the windows, the warmth of the wood stove, the afternoon lounging watching a girlie romance movie. I don’t often get the chance to do little without feeling guilty. So I’m going to do the same thing today – perhaps with the addition of homemade soup simmering on the stove.
Yes, I understand. As beautiful as this time of the year is, it’s the time for viruses and germs to come out of the closet. I know exactly what you mean – I spend a lot of time traveling on public transit and there are coughing people everywhere. It can be hard to protect from the onslaught of illness. I hope you get better soon, and enjoy your cozy afternoon by the stove with some good warm soup, a movie or perhaps some quiet time with a good book. We all deserve to have a day to rejuvenate, a day to ourselves.
Isn’t fall great? Even with all the cold fronts and falling barometric temperatures and cold/flu germs. I love the temperature dropping 30 degrees from 95 to 65 in a few days. And I love your wonderful descriptions. Wishing you a wonderful fall and a glorious holiday season.
Thank you Carla, I wish you a wonderful autumn filled with warmth, happiness and wellness. X
“I can choose to ignite my own light in the darkness.” Words that inspire, so eloquently put and so true. It is in our power to make the most of what we’ve been given in this life, and to always give thanks for what is. I hope this fall treats you kindly.
Thank you. I look forward to a restful fall filled with inspiration. Stay well and keep dancing 😉