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Last week we had to turn on our heater for the first time, just for a few hours before bed and the first hour after waking up. Otherwise, the house stays warm enough through the day and if it gets cold during the night we can just put an extra blanket on the bed.

Our big mulberry tree in the back has a fistful of yellow leaves on it. Our neighborhood is older (well, “older” for the American West, which means it dates from the 1930’s) and people planted their trees in a time before xeriscaping and water-wise trees came into fashion, so there’s all sorts of trees in our neighborhood that are turning yellow –not so much orange or red. There’s a few fallen leaves scuttling around in the front yard. Fall colors come late and they’re not so glorious, but they come.

There’s always a burst of energy for me when the cooler weather comes, a zing to my step. I want to do things. I’ve made a few decorations for the house, glitter pumpkins and red leaves and acorns on wreaths. And I want to go out instead of hiding in the house. It’s fiesta time in our neck of the woods( the weather isn’t so hot you want to kill yourself and not so cold that you can’t do anything outside), so every weekend there’s multiple places to be.

So it’s a great time of year for me.

The only thing is, I’ve been waking up and feeling a little creaky and having slivers of pain in my bones. The feelings go away with some stretching and moving (I think the morning creakiness problem comes staying in one position for too long), but I have had to take some painkillers on a few days. I try not to take that many, but when it starts getting cold, I just need it more. I worry about the impacts on my liver and my stomach from taking all kinds of medicine for decades more, so I try to hold out as long as possible. It’s just that stretching and getting enough sleep and hot baths and showers and vitamins and topical muscle rubs can only go so far. Sometimes the pain gets so bad that I can’t do anything else or think about anything else, so what else can I do but take the pill?

At least it won’t get too cold and the pain won’t get that much worse. A reason to be grateful.