Seasonal Adjustments

Surprisingly synchronous with the arrival of the equinox, our temperatures have fallen to cooler degrees and, as the year continues its turning, our daylight diminishes in its hours. This shift is felt on every level, by each of the senses and all of the inhabitants of our little cottage and the surrounding countryside.

We’re going to bed a bit earlier and rising later. Our business in the gardens and with house projects has actually increased during our briefer days, however. We are definitely the fabled diligent ants rather than the idle grasshoppers. We know the time of closing in and shutting down is rapidly approaching, and the ancient instinct to harvest before the arrival of killing frost is as great a motivator to us as to the squirrels gathering their seeds and acorns.

We’ve cleaned the house from top to bottom, literally, with Phillip climbing the ladder to get at lights, fans, artwork, and very high transoms. Closets and drawers have been sorted and winnowed along with the houseplants, who have returned indoors after their summer vacation. Boxes of clothes, dishes, accessories, books, and duplicate plants have been donated to local resale shops. My former writing area is now an indoor greenhouse, and the seldom-used smaller guest room is now designated as a writing, reading, and dreaming haven.

The gardens are being trimmed as necessary; we’re still waiting for a sustained nighttime temperature of 28 or so to get the new tulip bulbs planted. I thought I ordered 100. Surprise: 200 beautiful bulbs arrived! Call me mystified. Or forgetful? (Call Phillip something else.) I am earnestly, daily (and sometimes in the wee hours, sleeplessly) seeking every available spot to plant these, and am quite certain The Great Tulip Adventure will be one for the books. Something we’ll laugh about.


Autumn and spring, its counterpart in the seasonal dance, are usually hectic times for readiness and attending to checklists, so this bustling energy is not unusual, but it is perhaps a bit more driven this fall because I’m scheduled for a procedure called a “total reverse shoulder replacement” at the end of the month. It seems my autoimmune diseases and age have rather dramatically decided this year to create arthritis wherever I’ve had former injuries, so the long-ago shoulder repair needs updating, and the opposing knee will be replaced several months later. These changes are welcome for the relief and renewed strength I trust them to deliver, but to call them an adjustment easily accomplished would be a lie. They’ve presented a depressing struggle against a reality I’m only beginning to accept as necessary and am still wary of befriending.

But I will.

I’ve spent my adulthood working out and honoring exercise, eating healthily, enjoying physical activities, and trying to tend my spirit. I resent the hell out of this physical weakening and am ashamed to see and present myself as an invalid. I hate the ways I’m now dependent upon Phillip and how it’s increased his chores. His kindness and gentleness have been remarkable. I’m tearfully grateful and then feel guilty about the imbalance this has caused. I’m not useful in this partnership. I cannot walk the dogs, or lift a lot, or clean or cook, or hike as far as I like, or engage with yoga or go for a bike ride, or plant the damn tulip bulbs I ordered months (and a lifetime) ago, without assistance. I’m tired of adapting everything I do, and I’m scared that these surgeries and the endless healing they require may not succeed.

And then I recall my parents’ illnesses, and those of all my elder beloveds, and my hospice patients, too, all of them struggling with their pain and suffering, all the crosses borne and none of them deserved, and how little I really understood when I offered these people my comfort and presence. I wasn’t insensitive or ignorant and I tried to rest in compassion during our time together, but living through the role of the other this time around is a new experience in deepening awareness. Which is always a principle lesson in our suffering, isn’t it? That it makes observed pain vividly experienced and real. It’s humbling and leveling and changes us and the ways we offer comfort forever after. Or, at least, that seems one of the great invitations to me.

And, although I lapse and occasionally/daily indulge that tiny, tension-releasing and rewarding fantasy of slapping people like Donald Trump and Ginni Thomas upside the head, this jarring experience of being dependent and feeling my life held in a kind of suspension more often makes my judgments soften and my acceptance of “what is” gradually reveal a clearer path.

All those wisdom nuggets about loosening resistance and accepting what’s given as gift (if not the gift at the top of my Christmas list) widen the way before me. I read some markedly evolved person’s suggestion that if we can accept these unplanned and certainly undesired events in our lives as experiences we’ve consciously chosen, everything about our relationship and journey with the experience will change. Not only will resistance cease causing greater suffering, but how we make and explore the meaning of these events will be far more loving, buoyant, and deepening.

I’m trying.

The long days of summer that pull us up and out and keep us so very actively doing and thinking naturally give way to winter’s darker hours of dreaming and being, of going inward and exploring the heart’s and the spirit’s geography. My wish for us all is that these transitions flow smoothly and that our autumn and winter dreams bless us with awareness, healing, and a readiness for the light of spring. May we adapt to the seasonal adjustments in our lives with good grace and eventual acceptance, sifting always for meaning that enlightens us and deepens our relationships.

I leave you with this image…I was dressing, and happened to look up as the sunlight danced through the side yard’s maple leaves, which made their shadows flicker across and through my indoor plants…perhaps I’m easily amazed, but I found the moment stunning. I thought that sometimes we offer our dear world a disinterested glance, and she flashes back simple, utterly breathtaking miracles. Simple, small reminders that we live always amidst wonders if we look to see them. A much kinder wake-up call from Mother Nature than the ones offered by alarm clocks. May we be as kind to ourselves and others. Gentle Peace.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

18 thoughts on “Seasonal Adjustments

  1. The pictures in your post are so lovely. I wish I lived in that kind of setting, but I do appreciate the beauty in my own yard.

    You made me laugh with your comment about slapping Trump and Ginni Thomas! I try not to dwell on the liars and cheaters in our political arena these days.

    Thanks for your post.


    1. I’m happy your own yard gives you pleasure, Tammie. I bet it’s lovely. We moved here more than 25 years ago and worked very hard to improve our old home and empty yard. Not one garden when we moved here. It’s been a long labor of love, that’s for sure. Thank you for your kind comments about the photos. We live along a state bike trail that runs over the river, and it’s quite a lovely setting.

      Laughing is important. I have no idea where I’d be or in what state if Phillip and I weren’t making each other laugh so readily and often. 🙂 I try to stay aware of the news but, like you, no dwelling in situations I can’t control.

      Thank you so much for your comments; I truly value them. Gentle peace to you.


    2. Life gives and Life takes away.
      Phillip is the gift of life to you.
      Accept his kind help gracefully, just as you have to accept your pain.
      Any resistance to what life gives and any resentment to what life takes away is a loss of energy.
      Resistance is like driving the (old) car with the brakes on.
      We may or we may not have consciously chosen our present (unexpected) situation.
      But we have to accept Life as it flows, in any direction it takes us.
      “Do not resist…”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Shiva. I have encountered similar wisdom and agree that denying reality and yearning for what will never be is a poor use of finite energy. I also understand the lessons available regarding dependency and accepting, with gratitude, the assistance of others.

        I think it’s the suddenness and degree of changes to my mobility and independence that take time and reflection for acceptance to evolve. I’m not that old (!), and was doing high impact aerobics a year ago. The autoimmune disease process is still a mystery to medicine and that can be isolating and frustrating. I trust I’ll adapt, but think it’s useful at times to explore the “getting there” stages of adjusting one’s mind, body, and spirit to sudden physical and psychic shifts.

        I also am wary of “do not resist” as a sole compass of guidance. Resistance can be a vital human activity when we’re faced with lies, corruption, injustice, and blind authoritarianism. But I agree that resisting the truth surrounding physical loss and the degradation of the material body is not helpful to the flow, awareness, and available wisdom insights offered. Distinguishing egoic needs from spiritual challenges and invitations never ends. 😉 Thank you for the reminder! XO


  2. Thank you for this, Kitty. You so beautifully capture the experience of getting older and the internal and external struggles, while learning acceptance in a graceful way. Definitely lessons for those of us making our way to that stage of life’s journey. May your surgeries be successful and the recovery times full of blessings.


  3. Thank you so much for your kind words, Yacoob. I very much appreciate your blessing for my healing! One does kind of feel like an old car being retrofitted, but if it gets me back on the road for more travels, I’m up for the adventure! 😉
    Joy and gentle peace to you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can so identify with the loss of physical strength and the journey of living in our aging bodies. Many prayers for wisdom, comfort and healing at this time, for patience and peace. Judy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your empathy and kindness, Judy. I so appreciate your prayers and the comfort and strength they provide my heart and spirit. Blessings and peace to you, too. XO


  5. I have much to say in response to this post …. first, I am so sorry that you are experiencing such debilitation in your shoulder and knee. It’s so much more difficult when you’re used to be being an active person and carrying out so many tasks without thinking twice. I send you lots of white light and wishes for the best possible outcomes for each procedure. I will happily do that slapping for you – haha – but yeah, we do have to accept that things are going the way they should, like it or not. I have been reminded more than once, that in order for things to heal/be healed they have to first be brought to the light. (Is it light yet??!!??)
    And I get that beautiful dappling through the window and your emotional response. I’ve had some very emotional times here, too. I chose a new channel for my peaceful music while I worked, and when I looked at the phenomenal beauty of the images, I burst into tears. Just did it again, too. The music is lovely, especially for work, but the skies ….
    Chin up, Kitty, we really are all just walking each other home. (Ram Dass) 😘❤️


    1. Thank you for your kindness, Jeanne. You are always utterly authentic in your comments and I value that. These are emotional times, I think, or times that evoke more emotional responses… I was reading about young Filipino women coming to teach here in horrendously needy school systems, and the children were so cruel. These women had left their families to earn money and send it home; they have advanced degrees and are trying to help and arrived with such hope. So, yes, by the end of the article I was crying, too, and just glancing through the other daily headlines made me close the site altogether.

      So, we turn to art and hopeful stories, and people like Ram Dass. (I’ve used that quote at so many of the memorial services I’ve led over the years. Isn’t it perfect?) And I pray that goodness, kindness, truth and decency will ascend again. It is all about healing.

      All shall be well. 👍 💕

      Thank you again, Jeanne.


  6. Hello Kitty I so appreciate you sharing your posts/compositions/poetry; always meaningful and heartfelt, especially this one. Sending well wishes and the hopes that your recovery will be uneventful. It is challenging navigating this time in our lives and the unexpected health issues we need to cope with, as well as accepting help with what we were normally able to do for ourselves. I have a feeling that you will be a “good” patient and follow your post operative instructions and that you will patiently move through this period to better and a more comfortable health status… you say , it may not be easy but what are our choices?? So, all the best to you and thank you for sharing…… Jane



    1. Thank you, Jane; I appreciate your kindness and encouragement. Yes, I’ll try to be a good patient. The only way out is through, isn’t it? So, step by step, and I’ll look forward to arriving at a new and healthier place. Thank you again for your gentle empathy and beautiful wishes and hope. Such a lovely bright light! XO


  7. Remember –
    Light is all around you, not just at the end of a tunnel.

    Wishing you the best outcomes and much light on the road to recovery.


  8. Oh goodness, the light glowing on the leaves is magical! Such beautiful photos. I am loving your houseplants, some are so unusual. I’m delighted that everything is clean and sorted inside and out, that’s always a blessing pre surgery.
    Oh arthritis is a pain, literally! You have my sympathy, it’s so aggravating having to rely on others, but Philip is a blessing who cares for you selflessly. I understand the worry about surgery but these people are so skilled in what they do. Sending healing and light for your recovery my dear, brave friend. Love and hugs.xxxx


    1. Thank you, dear one. I so appreciate your kindness and encouragement. And yes, Phillip is my heart and my treasure.
      Still sorting; it’s ongoing. I do have to be careful about my eagerness to pare things down some days, but it’s encouraging to see what we can learn to do without. 😉

      I do love our houseplants; they are beloved characters in our story, too.

      Thank you again for your light and love in my life. You are a treasure.


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