You know those tall, pretty, golden flowers you see growing along roadsides and field edges this time of year? Well, it’s ragweed and it causes things like sneezing fits and runny noses and itchy pallettes, which sounds kind of adorable until you have them all at once. Ragweed releases its evil seedpods for about two weeks starting at the tail end of summer and every time it happens I get really sick and think “boy, this cold sure is terrible” because apparently I can’t remember when ragweed season starts. Once I even went to a doctor, who injected a tiny amount of ragweed poison into the delicate skin of my forearm and watched it swell and clucked “yes, you are definitely allergic to ragweed.” I don’t know why I needed medical confirmation for what I already knew: for those two weeks where it’s not quite summer and not quite fall, I am a miserable SOB.
What causes this amnesia? Is it the same Darwinistic force that renders me incapable of idenitifying poison ivy, even though I’ve had it so bad on my face that I needed cortisone injections and oversized sunglasses? Is it just that I’m a dingus? Probably both, but I’m having the same amnesia right now about how the change from summer to fall always gets me down. I believe that’s why I’ve felt so restless and fragile since late August. It’s the change of seasons!
While I finally started to noodle this through on my own last night, proper credit goes to Furtheron, who commented after my last post that during summer he tends to feel good and then slips into a bit of melancholy at the start of fall. I’m pretty sure he told me this last year too, but I forgot. Maybe seeing halloween candy in the grocery stores while I’m wearing flip flops is a subconscious reminder that winter is next up. Maybe I’m still processing the sudden loss of summer. I have no regrets, I just don’t know where it went and I miss it.
Fall is personally hard for me in sobriety because of Oktoberfest. Although booze was what ultimately got me in trouble, beer was always my drink of choice (boy it took a lot more in the end to do the trick). Every year we drove an hour north to spend the day at a brewery with strong beer, wonderful food and a good old-fashioned parade of roast pig around an authentic beer hall. We even went last October, when I was newly sober. I could still eat food and appreciate a dead-pig parade, afterall. But it wasn’t the same, and it made me a little sad.
This year, without me saying a word, my husband said “I think we should skip oktoberfest this year and try something new.” He’s like that a lot…tuned into the same wave length as my spooky thoughts…I love that. I am more than a little relieved to skip it this year. He suggested we have our own oktoberfest feast at home, which is something I can really get behind. I love to cook. There is something about planning and preparing and enjoying a meal with others that feels curative.
After last weekend’s nasty outbreak of self-pity and resentment over not being able to drink like everybody else – because, no, I really can’t drink like everybody else – I am more aware that I need to embrace new routines now. Last year it felt fine to hold onto certain rituals from when I was a drinker. The thought don’t rock the boat comes to mind for how I got through the first year. Now, I need new things to look forward to. They don’t even necessarily have to be new…I’m going apple picking again…I want to make a new fall wreath for the front door that maybe has tiny witches in it. Apparently my sobriety looks like Martha Stewart’s regular life, minus prison and perfection.