Dear friends and patient readers, I am sorry to have neglected you for so long. But the cause has been a good one! Three decades ago, I injured one knee, and four arthroscopies, lots of PT, and a good deal of pain later, it was time to give up and have the total knee replacement that had been planting itself securely in my path for the last several years.
I spent the latter part of autumn in aggressive physical therapy and preparation for the procedure. The surgery itself was in early December, and I've been rehabbing ever since. I'm doing very (very!) well, but this is a challenging surgery to have and to recover from-- lots of hard work involved. Much pain to be pushed through. I also returned to work months earlier than most people do after TKR; I'm a teacher, and I wasn't willing to be separated from my students for months. So, I gritted my teeth and was back at work only 4.5 weeks after surgery (for reference, most people don't return until 4-6 months postop).
Over the last week or so I've been systematically going through my house and sorting my various possessions into two piles: What I'll keep and what I'll get rid of. So far I've managed to cull quite a bit of my possessions, which I'm pleased about because they can hold you down sometimes. This time of year is perfect for this kind of work. People are in a reflective mood, looking back over the previous year, while also starting to plan toward the future, like Janus. The act of sorting your possessions is simultaneously a releasing of the past and an embrace of the future. You let go of what is holding you back and open yourself up to the possibilities.
You might not think that your possessions would weigh you down to the past, other than through the obvious physical reality they embody, but with anything you have there is always an emotion and memory attached to it, if not more than one. In some cases you can rewrite those memories by making new ones. I've done that a lot over the last few years, but in other cases, it can be good to just let go of the memories and emotions by letting go of the possessions. In my case that includes letting go of 8 crates of books, which served their purpose, but now is just a lot of weight, emotionally and physically to continue carrying around.
It's late August. The grass is bleached blond, the weeds at the roadsides are turning brown, and I'm starting to feel reminiscent about rainy weather. But there is a quality of light in late August that says summer is waning, and the bright half of the year is winding down. In a month we're going to turn the corner and the dark half is going to begin, and that's when we will find ourselves indoors more. Now is a good time to consider whether we're ready to be cooped up with ourselves. Are we ready for the inward turning that often happens in the winter? Are there things we'd like to let go of, so that we don't have to carry them into the shadows with us?
During the last days of this August, we can harness not only the energy of a waning moon, but also the energy of the waning year, to help us with this process.