The calendar reveals that the season has officially shifted to fall, and as I gazed out my window, I could not help but notice the flurry of leaves falling from some of the trees. Here in Pennsylvania the foliage is just beginning to turn. Although a few trees wear coats of red and gold, most continue to sport their green. Only a few trees are beginning to shed their foliage. As I thought about the trees casting their leaves in preparation for the winter, I wondered if the shedding related to life in general.
Actually, it caused me to reflect on a conversation I had with a former coworker now retired. Although her life has been riddled with hardship, she chooses to focus on what is good and positive rather than what is no longer possible. Her husband has traveled a rough and difficult road of health and though making progress, he’s unable to do some of the “chores” that usually would have been meaningful. Without use of his limbs, he could no longer mow the grass, tend flower beds or work on the car. It troubled him to have to pay someone to do these tasks. In years past, though bothersome, these jobs would have been a simple undertaking. My friend reminded her beloved spouse that it was OK to let some of these things go. The chores would get done but in another way. She encouraged him to let these jobs go and save his energy for those activities that were more important or pleasurable.
Sometimes in life, we are forced to let things go – a relationship, job, house or a myriad of other things which seem important to us. We can fight the loss and become depressed, OR we can let them go tumbling beneath us like the tree leaves in autumn. We can choose to focus our mind and energy in other directions and with higher priorities. It seems fall’s castings may relate to life after all.
For someone who loves summer as much as I do, Labor Day evokes some sadness. Yet along with the turning leaves and entourage of school buses, the coming of fall does seem to bring a semblance of structure and renewed purpose, and I can certainly use some of that. So on this day when we are supposed to honor hard work, I chose to perform some and begin the season with some organization in my office. My problem, however, is not getting organized, it’s staying that way. Does that problem resonate with any of you?
Because I enjoy writing for both fun and profit, I spend a lot of time at the computer. I find, however, that I frequently have stacks of papers, articles, and notes on either side of the keyboard representing various projects I’m working on. It seems if I put them into a file drawer, I forget that they’re there, and soon they all come tumbling through the proverbial cracks.
Interestingly, I have been talking with a few other writers who have the same problem. They want to work in a neat and orderly environment, but the stacks appear almost out of nowhere. (Maybe it’s not our fault.) Like me, they’ll block out time and expend the effort to start the reorganization, but it’s not long before the piles of files reappear. Is this a problem characteristic of writers or just those of us who have “messy” genes lurking in our ancestry? Is there a secret known to the rest of you who have pristine desktops? If so, please share and let the rest of us in on it so that next Labor Day, all of us can enjoy the day off.