October is moving at a breakneck pace and I have been patiently waiting for the usually accompanying cool weather. By South Carolina standards that means the upper seventies with a nice breeze and a decrease in the humidity. Much cooler than that and we might think we slipped into winter. Yet here we are October 21st and we are in the eighties. Granted, the humidity is not at August levels and there is a breeze so I jumped into the annual fall garden clean-up. The above is just from the side yard and the adjoining front corner by the garage. I have much more to do, especially in the back, but I’m holding out with the hope next weekend will be a little cooler.
As I trimmed, shaped and weeded I got thinking about how writers do the same thing with their work. The first spilling out on the page is usually untidy and overgrown in parts. Sometimes whole sections need to be moved or cut altogether. Occasionally a seedling is found and can be cultivated to enhance the story.
As my brain reflected as it seems to always do when I’m working in the garden, I also saw the beauty of how this trimming works in our lives. We trim away old habits or toxic friends. We weed out our closets and other possessions to give space for the things we actually like and use. We examine how we are using our time and try to clear our calendars and to-do lists of the things that detract from a meaningful life. There is something soothing and energizing about restoring order and clearing away the excess. In the garden, In the closet or garage, in relationships and how we use our time.
For me, these clean-ups work best when I do them on a fairly regular basis. I find that the changing of the seasons, regardless of cooperation of the weather are great times to stop, reflect, pick an area or two literally or metaphorically to trim up and weed out. Then discard that excess, the baggage that holds you back, and move on, there is an even better life just ahead.