This time of year, late fall transitioning into early winter, is my least favorite time of year.
Trees have shed their leaves and draw inward with just their skeleton trunk and branches remaining. I miss the leaves and their whispers and rustlings. More than just missing, I actually mourn.
I felt a strong urge to clean my house this autumn, a deep and thorough cleaning that required a ladder to get to the cobwebs dangling across the high ceiling beams, and to the dust that had settled on top of the cabinets, closets, and ceiling fans. I took everything out of the kitchen cabinets, every single thing, and cleaned inside the cabinets as well. I only put back what we really use; the rest is waiting for a trip to the thrift store.
I removed everything from the pantry and threw out many of my old herbs and spices (the compost received them with equanimity). I reorganized my dry goods jars, lentils, beans, grains. It looks more spacious in there now and I can find everything I need.
The leaves kept falling and I kept cleaning and decluttering.
I miss the leaves but I do like the spaciousness they left behind – spotting houses through the trees that I had not seen before, appreciating the unique shapes of bare tree branches, noticing a woodpecker more quickly without the cover of leaves.
Then there was this last tree that clung to its leaves much longer than its neighbors. It glowed golden orange in the setting sun, the last holdout of the glorious autumn season. It, too, eventually dropped its leaves and surrendered to the stern commands of Nature’s law of continual change.
Despite the depressing November elections here in the US, things are getting clearer in my mind, and more organized. As the outer cleaning happened, the inner sorting and clearing occurred as well. I know my priorities, I have a plan for moving forward. Winter will provide a chance to draw inward, sink roots even more deeply into the ground, gather momentum, nourish new alliances.
We can spruce up winter with sparkling lights, fragrant evergreens, and other delightful decorations to lift our light-deprived spirit; however, the deep underground work must happen in the dark.
And so it will.
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