Sam Radford

April 16, 2021

When the leaves fall from us

I wrote yesterday about our need for a recovery plan from the trauma of the last year. 

And then, later in the day, I came across this quote via James Clear, from the book Wintering by Katherine May: 

We are in the habit of imagining our lives to be linear, a long march from birth to death in which we mass our powers, only to surrender them again, all the while slowly losing our youthful beauty. This is a brutal untruth. Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again. 

This last year has been an unsparing reminder of this truth that life is seasonal, not linear. Here in the UK at least, we’re slowly emerging from a season where the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones.

We all get tempted to live a linear life, regardless of what’s going on in our lives or around us. Even in a pandemic! Western culture is go, go, go; more, more, more. We try to live in denial of the natural – essential – seasons of life.

This is a time to push into the truth of our need to give ourselves time and space to recover. And there’s good news here. When we give ourselves this time, as surely as the leaves return to the trees in spring, so too will we be restored and start to flourish again.

Though I’m hesitant to recommend a book I haven’t yet read, May’s Wintering seems like a perfect companion to this time of recovery. In The Guardian review, Kate Kellaway writes:

If therapy is a talking cure, this beautiful book – Wintering – is a reading cure. Not that it sets out in a know-it-all way to enlighten. It is too internalised for that. It is a personal, original and wayward examination of the idea that, as humans, we have – and need to have – our fallow seasons…

My copy is arriving later today. And I’m looking forward to the lessons I’ll learn as I look to ensure I give myself time, space, and opportunity to recover from this traumatic time we’ve all been through together. I know my reserve tank needs this replenishment.

Have you read ‘Wintering’? Or are there other books or resources that have helped you embrace a more seasonal approach to life? I'd love to hear from you – just hit reply or drop me a note