This Time of Year

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.

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: It’s Not this Time of Year Without…

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35 Responses to This Time of Year

  1. It sounds like a wonderful cleansing and clarifying process Annette, except the mourning part. We’re still enjoying the tail end of autumn, but I too find beauty in the spaces, shapes of trees and new details revealed. I hope all this cleaning and sorting serves you well. blessings, Brad


  2. I love this post. I don’t hate the shedding of leaves or the transition into winter. It’s all part of a cleaning out season, preparing us for the dark winter ahead. Some inner work is called for now. I also have been very depressed about the election and frankly, I still haven’t recovered. I thought of escape, but no jobs abroad have materialized. Maybe because of my age, it just isn’t meant to be. I’m not sure i’m up for a year-long move anyway. I’m glad you have a plan for moving forward. I’m trying to come up with one myself. Not sure where it will lead at this point. Have a happy and peaceful December, Annette. 🙂


    • Hi Cathy – sorry to hear that no jobs have opened up yet for you. Maybe a gentle nudge to stay? Are you going to the March, Jan 21? I am still planning to go…


      • I have to admit that I haven’t tried too hard to find a job abroad. So many of the jobs are teaching children, and that is just not my cup of tea. I guess if I were really desperate, I could do that. Luckily, I don’t really need to work, but I do have wanderlust and would like the money and independence to live abroad for short periods of time (say for 3 month stints) and not have to teach! 🙂 As for the march, if I’m here, I’m pretty sure I will go. I wonder if there will be a big crowd.


  3. bythebriny says:

    Did some decluttering myself a couple of weeks ago. It’s such a satisfying task — I find I feel lighter all over.


  4. shoreacres says:

    I love autumn and winter — the fields lying fallow, and the long nights. I had to smile at your decluttering and cleaning, though. I just tossed out some old spices tonight (best by 2009?) and am feeling ready to tackle the top of the refrigerator and the fan blades.

    Who knows? Maybe all the leave drop surrounding us is just Nature doing her own sort of decluttering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I had anything quite that “ancient.” 🙂 I always marvel at Nature’s composting process, how things break down and then eventually become part of the soil; maybe a form of decluttering? definitely recycling…


  5. Maybe make room for that new pantsuit?! We must continue to move forward, bringing love and tolerance as we go …


  6. A very thoughtful reflection on this time of year. I feel like this more in January or February.


  7. I love this! So close to my raw heart! May we walk this landscape together and in deep and abiding peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Annette, I love your post, it speaks to my heart,on a deeper level, regarding cleaning and decluttering I did the same before the election, go figure. Wish you a great holiday season, as I am leaving to Germany in 10 days for a family wedding. Getting to enjoy the Christkindl Maerkte.


  9. Michael says:

    Lovely post, Annette. I loved the connection between the space created by falling leaves and the images of your autumn-cleaning. I have to use the full power of my imagination to summon the experience of a spice cabinet without something leaping out at me when the cabinet door swings open! Ha!

    I can appreciate the mourning, too. The heartfelt sadness of the season. I feel that too sometimes. But also sometimes I feel closest to the trees in winter. I don’t know why. When we stand together underneath the frigid sky, and I can stand right next to their trunks and look up through the limbs to see the stars, and I know they will be green again in the spring–that they are alive, even in that seeming empty moment–it gives me goose bumps…



    • Thank you, Michael, for sharing your experience. Like you, I also enjoy the bare essence of trees in winter; it seems like you can meet their personality after they’ve shed their leaves in a more palpable manner. And they produce some dramatic shadow play on winter snow as well. But – I still miss the warmer seasons. I’m just a wimp about winter weather 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. geoch1 says:

    Very important to find beauty in the daily details!
    Nice blog, I am gonna follow it.

    All the best!


  11. I love your photos in this post, especially the one of the bare branch, and the other with the holdout orange tree. But what affects me most in this post is your plan to draw inward in the dark of winter to do deep work. That is so insightful. And it puts into succinct words my own goal for this season of winter, which has now most fully arrived…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: What Was It All About – 2016 Review | The Beauty Along the Road

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