MS and the Beauty of Changing Seasons
I walked outside a couple days ago and something amazing happened. The heat didn’t slap me in the face. The humidity didn’t sit on my chest like some sort of weird, invisible lead weight. (And let me tell you, in Georgia, the heat and humidity are beyond oppressive. The second they slacken, we all take the first deep breath we’ve been permitted in months.)
This all adds up to one thing: Fall is finally coming. The temperatures are coming down slightly, and the days are getting a wee bit shorter. Soon the leaves will change from deep green to all manner of reds, yellows, and oranges. We’ll don scarves and warm hats, go apple-picking at my favorite orchard in Blue Ridge, and bring in loads of firewood to keep us warm as the nights grow cooler.
But we’re not quite there yet. Fall doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 22 here in the Northern Hemisphere. We’re in a sort of transition period now, a moment when we can feel that something is ending and a new thing is beginning.
This week, I stumbled across a blog post written by a lovely young woman also named Jamie, who was motivated to write by a single sentence in a gardening video she watched. In the video, gardener Liz Zorab mentions that this is her favorite time of year — “that time between summer and autumn which [she calls] ‘The Pause.'”
Jamie Taylor writes in response, “I think back on my memory of what would have been The Pause in years past and I can see a clear awareness of it. It is there and truly something other than the categories I already knew. There is a space at the end of a season or measure of time that is also part of the beginning of another. It is something that cannot be fully part of either. It possesses elements of both and thus is forever like—but separate—from the others. Naming can be an incarnation.”
Isn’t that simply perfect?
These kinds of moments don’t happen often, and it’s easy to miss them in the chaos of our workaday lives. But something amazing and profound is occurring very quietly all around us right now as the seasons change. We’re in a place that isn’t fully summer or fully fall. Some nights are mild, others humid. Some days are scorchers, while others are an almost perfect blend of warm sunshine and cool breeze. It’s as if the seasons are greeting one another, exchanging pleasantries and kisses on the cheek before they float past one another.
As multiple sclerosis patients, we’re well aware of in-between spaces, of the ways things can change — sometimes suddenly, and often without our permission. We live our lives in the middle — in the waiting, as it were. We have to adjust and choose to grow through the challenges. We must accept who we are as MS patients, even if those around us don’t always understand what’s going on inside our bodies, minds, and spirits.
I think “The Pause” is a place where we can feel at home, where we can breathe and take some time to explore possibilities. It’s a time and space to dream about what the next season in life will bring.
Over the next few weeks, watch the flowers fade and feel the loss of them. Watch the trees turn Technicolor, and marvel that something so basic as a tree preparing for winter could be so damned beautiful. Take comfort in your warm home and fuzzy slippers, a tasty mug of apple cider and the simple joy of a purring cat (or sleeping dog) at your side. Rejoice in the new sensations, and allow them to fill you with both gratitude and wonder.
Doing those things can help you feel more at peace with the world around you, the way it, too, changes gracefully. It will also help ground you in your own skin and root you in your place in a way that is both healthy and truly life-giving.
I wish you a happy and peaceful “Pause,” beloved. May your coming season bless you in ways you hadn’t expected. May it provide whatever you need.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.