It is officially Fall in South Mississippi. And by Fall, I mean that the temperatures—just this week—finally fell below high 80’s during the day. Sure, I’ll blink twice and the heat will return, but for now, it’s Fall.
It’s been too cold to get in the pool, even before this past week—not that I haven’t tried. Cold does weird things to me. First, it’s unbearable, in that “cold to the bone” sort of way. But then, like 3500 gallons of Biofreeze, the water grants me blissful numbness.
Do I stop hurting? Do I simply forget that I hurt?
Does it really matter?
But then, I have to get out. Like teenagers making out at a parent’s house, I want to spend as much time as possible with my beloved water, my joints thrilling at the contact and yet fearful of the unexpected return of the fearsome face of Father Fatigue.
Because he comes, without notice, and I simply drop—limp—unable to do much of anything. I don’t know that “without notice” is entirely accurate. Just like with a parent, I know he’s coming. I just don’t know when.
And when I do leave the too-cold water, punishment awaits. The pain returns, in spades, as they say, and it’s almost always worse. Not only am I out of the water, out of that place where pain is so minimal it doesn’t bear noticing, but I’m also cold and wet.
And so for now, I must let go of the pool and find other things to help improve movement and decrease pain.
Because it’s Fall.
As Grace said, Fall is a season of letting go.
The leaves begin to wither and there’s a certain smell in the air that doesn’t happen any other time of year. It’s rotting gardenia blooms and cold air and that *something* that I cannot name—that special sauce with secret ingredients known only by the Creator—that lets me know that the time of clinging is over.
The closest I ever come to perky is in the Autumn and Spring. Those new smells, that new air. Everything looks new, even if it’s falling apart. Grace also said that
Fall “at once energizes me and breaks my heart – in a good way. For some reason, I am particularly tender this time of year. Things move me. And with the Season of Thanksgiving almost upon us, I find myself breaking out in spontaneous bouts of gratitude…many times, with tears streaming down my cheeks.”
That girl nailed it.
The falling away, the loss, no matter how necessary, bears with it echoes of pain. One by one the links to the “Dark Ages” (my time in Arizona) have fallen away. First my Jitterbug, alpha cat and pizza stealer extraordinaire, leaving the very weekend I had my first flare. Mardi Gras, the runt, this year. A glass-top table from Phoenix when I stepped right on the glass while getting ready for Hurricane Nate, who didn’t even show.
I’m brilliant, I swear.
And now, my car, my beloved Babs, so-named by one of my oldest friends. My Saturn VUE which was the very best car ever. Thirteen years without a single problem; two years of leaking from the sun roof and a cracked console, bolted down. A year of no consistent air conditioning, and a summer of an air conditioner that only blows hot air.
The problems it has now are not feasible to fix since they don’t even make the parts anymore.
But pieces of my life in Arizona, falling away, clearing out to make room for new pieces. It’s not like I hold tight or anything; it’s only been fourteen and a half years since I re-landed in Mississippi. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love them—or that I don’t still love them for that matter. It just means that I’m letting go. And there is so much that I have grasped onto far past the time they’ve been beneficial or healthy.
Because I might just be a wee bit stubborn.
Just a wee bit.
Grace said, “I find myself instinctively in a ‘Spring Cleaning Mode’ these days, even though we are well into Fall.” As for me, I have extra energy, as seen by being extra-fidgety. Perhaps it’s time to channel it into a Fall Cleaning Mode.
It’s time to clear out the old. Respect it. Honor it. And move on.
Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Allow the old to pass so that I may experience the new. Time wasters, clutter, habits.
I tend to cling to the old as if I were John McClane, holding onto the ladder from the helicopter.
Yippee Kai Yay.
It is not yet, as Steinbeck says, the winter of our discontent, but rather the autumn of our content.
Change is not just a-coming, but is actually here. I will try not to worry so much about the cold—the being out of the pool, so to speak—and just focus on clearing out.
I will try not to focus on the “It’s past time” element that I usually get caught up in and instead feel the
“It’s time now.”
Because it is. Time. Now.
The Autumn of content. The season of outdoor fires and hot chocolate. Weenie and marshmallow roasts, whether or not the kids are here.
Autumn is a season of harvest and of preparation: of laying up stores for Winter. It is the time before the resting season; the time of gathering and accounting when we see what the product of our year’s worth of work may be.
Happy Fall, Y’all.