This is the time of year to sweep the negative energy into the darkness, honor our ancestors and plant the seeds of transition into a new year. The fall is always a season of new beginnings for me, a time where the major changes materialize transforming my life, as the fall transforms the color of the leaves – and this year there’s a big transformation looming beyond the full harvest moon.
The summer is almost at its end. The days are getting shorter, the sunsets deeper, the lush green leaves are tinged with orange and a hint of crimson blushing around their edges. I look up at the sky, blue, with tiny wisps of clouds. I float on my back in the pool enjoying the peace…
I dream of moving to a warmer climate, not just for RA, but because I love the sun and heat, and find the beauty of a desert terrain intoxicating. Living in a lush rainforest climate has its own splendid beauty, but there’s no doubt the changeable weather and weeks of rain takes a toll on me, mentally and physically. I had always planned to move to a drier place in the future, where I believed my RA would be less present – but would it?
For two years we have each lived in the circle of our own inner sanctums, leaving the big wide world on the outside. Now the world is trying to creep back in again, swirling with uncertainty and overwhelming us with how fast it’s moving, but instead of trying to keep up with it, or worrying about being left behind, I chose to step into the eye and focus on just one day – one perfect day in the storm.
I had always moved and keeping my body flexible and strong, especially as a dancer, was always a top priority. RA didn’t change that priority, but it did bring some challenges on how to maintain my physical health without hurting my joints – not only that, but I wanted to find exercise that would do for me what dance had always done.
I’ve experienced success and disappointment, but I lived life my way, and I’ve done almost everything I wanted to do. It wasn’t easy, sacrifices were made, but I have lived, learned, lost my way, and found it again. Without those difficult memories, I wouldn’t be where I am today. RA didn’t hold me back from life – it reminded me why I must live it.
Between the siege of autumn storms and the oncoming blast of winter are pockets of quietness where the world stops to take a breath.
I think we often forget the value and power of the quiet moments. In the midst of the holiday season, it can be difficult to give myself some quiet space to focus on what is in front of me and not what is ahead of me.
The rain pelts against the window and the painted leaves dance with wild abandon in the autumn winds. The summer has long left us, that scorching dry heat forgotten in the dark misty mornings that greet us when we wake, and the early arrival of twilight. It is the time where the animals take shelter…
The cooler wetter months can be challenging to those of us living with arthritis and other chronic conditions. The sudden shift in the temperature, dark mornings, and dusky evenings make the joints a little stiffer, giving us more fatigue and a bit more pain as Mother Nature tries to settle into her new role. As the fall rains come down in the misty mornings of September, we mark this month in two ways – the change in seasons and Arthritis Awareness Month.
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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.