Letting Go and Moving On

Back yard 2Back yard 1

Reluctance by Robert Frost 

Out through the fields and the woods 
And over the walls I have wended; Front yard oak
I have climbed the hills of view 
And looked at the world, and descended; 
I have come by the highway home, 
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground, 
Save those that the oak is keeping 
To ravel them one by one 
And let them go scraping and creeping 
Out over the crusted snow, 
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still, 
No longer blown hither and thither; 
The last long aster is gone; 
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither; Front yard
The heart is still aching to seek, 
But the feet question ‘Whither?’

Ah, when to the heart of man 
Was it ever less than a treason 
To go with the drift of things, 
To yield with a grace to reason, 
And bow and accept the end 
Of a love or a season?

This has been a strange year of changing seasons and moving on for me. Like the oak trees in my yard clinging to their faded leaves, I feel a little caught between seasons.  I’m too young to consider this the winter of my life, but I’ve stepped into retirement ahead of my beloved and many of my friends. I’m certainly not unhappy, but in a way, I’m neither fish nor fowl.

Like most people I know, I resist change almost by reflex. I want to know I still have a purpose and can accomplish something every day. I want to know that all my friends and family are safely in their places. I want to know my keys are where I believe I left them. I want to know that the various mechanical and electronic devices I use will work the way they are expected to.

I don’t always get what I want.

My husband and I had a scanning project planned for this weekend.  Thursday, I cleared space on my desk next to our high resolution scanner for him to lay out the documents he wanted to scan. I preset the scanner to save to a USB thumb drive with a clear folder name on it. When he got home, I showed him how to scan and save at various resolutions, and promised him access to the computer all day Saturday.

ScannersThis morning, the scanner died. Hmmmph. Not only did this throw a monkey wrench into his plans, but it meant that my (9-year) old companion has to be junked and I have to learn to use a new scanner for the thousands of family photos I’ve been archiving. I did some quick online research, and we headed off to Office Depot, where for about $80 including tax we purchased a new scanner, earning 4.2 stars out of five online, complete with OCR, photo editing capabilities, and resolutions up to 4800 dpi. Trust me, these are good things.

After about half an hour of software downloads and experimentation, I was ready to retrain my beloved. Before I knew it, he had happily filled his thumb drive. Project completed. Crisis averted. As an added benefit, this scanner works with our newer computer and laptop, which the old one did not.

Not every change this year has gone so smoothly.

Although I am grateful to be retired, and to have left the madness of my job behind, I am sometimes a little lost in the morning – not quite sure yet how best to prioritize all this free-form time. I find I am using my Outlook calendar and synching it to my phone to suggest daily tasks and activities, and to keep me from getting lost in blogs or books. I’m finding a new rhythm.

More dramatically, this year we lost two old friends to cancer, and my mother to strokes. There is something so unsettling in knowing these beloved people can no longer be visited or reached by phone, email, or Facebook. They won’t receive my Christmas cards. My grandchildren won’t ever spend another Easter with my mother, and I won’t shop this year for a calendar with photos of Scotland for her to open on Christmas morning.

I have to let some more leaves go.

I have to move on to my new scanner, and my new lifestyle, and to the place in my life where the fresh losses of these loved ones are a reality. I know that as I move through the Autumn and Winter seasons of my life there will be more human losses close to me, both in affection and in age. As beautiful as these seasons are, they have this painful down-side. As I have done at other difficult times, I will trust in the higher plan and learn to accept what I can’t change, weaving all of these changes into my life.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… He hath made every thing beautiful in his time.

 Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11a,   KJV

There’s no point in fighting it – just as there’s no stopping the change of seasons. Everything happens in its time.


This post was partly written in response to a WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge on the topic of Changing Seasons. To see other bloggers’ posts on the subject, click here.

For my previous ruminations (and a musical interlude) on the changing seasons in our lives, please see my Fall post: To Every Thing there is a Season.

This entry was posted in Family, Photo Challenges, Retirement itself, Ruminations and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Letting Go and Moving On

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  9. plaridel says:

    I read somewhere that the more things change, the more they remain the same. it must be nice to wake up in the morning and not worry about going to work. 🙂


    • It is nice – but I have other things to do, and my challenge is staying focused and still doing some meaningful things each day to prepare for selling our house (and finding a smaller one), researching financial info, and doing other things to help prepare for my husband to join me in retirement. I could read books & blogs all day every day! Thanks for your visit and taking time to comment! 😉


  10. may you always get what u want 🙂


  11. The scanner, well, everything for a reason, right? Worked out well.
    I, too, am sorry for your losses. I’m so afraid when the time comes how I will react to not buying the traditional calendar of Italy. That’s why today is so important. Blessings for a happy, healthy new year.


  12. lolakojane says:

    A touching post…I’m so sorry about your loss.


  13. Pat says:

    You did a beautiful job of capturing the changes that I have experienced with retirement. Not necessarily bad, but very different. A shift in equilibrium that takes time to re-establish.



  15. Jeff Sinon says:

    A wonderful poem, well written post, and my condolences on your losses.


  16. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « Beijing Daily Photo 2

  17. So true the changing seasons mean more than nature’s rotation — thank you for this post full of reflection. ~ Kat


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  20. Touch2Touch says:

    What an eventful year! Not all years are so filled with significant, major incident. But you will find your equilibrium. We always do. (And your blog will help you to do so.)
    But change is a certainty. I’m thrilled to find these words of Frost again — the ones in the last stanza I love so much — and discover the poem they undergird, which I didn’t even know!
    Your photos are the perfect accompaniment, full of, well, nothing, really. The dull dull time –And yet containing everything, if we knew how to look.
    The new growth is already borning, way way beneath. Onward!


  21. Couldn’t have expressed it better. Thank you!


  22. adinparadise says:

    Such a lovely poem, and your thoughts are beautifully expressed. Change and adjusting to loss, is never easy. I wish you a blessed season. The verse from Ecclesiastes is always so relevant.


    • Thanks, AD! These verses always grab me. We plan to have all of our children and grandchildren here for Christmas Eve… it’s amazing how that will energize our world. I wish you a blessed season as well. 🙂


  23. bluebee says:

    This resonates so strongly – I have shaken off a whole tree of leaves in this last month and don’t want to think too much about it, lest I turn to ash.


    • I’m sorry to hear you’re hurting. As Gilda Radner said, “it’s always something!” – but it’s not always something bad. Another season always follows. Here’s wishing you a soothing holiday season and a good 2013. 😉


  24. rarasaur says:

    *hugs* Changes are hard, even the good ones. I love the comparison to the poem, and to seasons– well said!


  25. Good post – I enjoyed reading it! I like the poem.


  26. bulldogsturf says:

    A wonderful post that most of us at some stage in life must face… being, I like to call it semi retired, does not always bring a smile to my face, I enjoyed the routine of being employed and now at times find myself rising in the morning wondering what the day holds for me… but such is life …


    • I hope you’ll find a more satisfying rhythm as you go along and figure out how to make this work better for you. I also miss having a routine at the office, just not what that routine included.
      I’ve decided to try developing a new routine for myself – and have started assigning myself tasks for each week to get/keep me on track with my retirement goals. It’s a little random, but I do love checking things off the list…


  27. Lovely post… So sorry for your losses… The sentence about not buying a Scottish calendar for your Mom to open on Christmas morning made me want to reach out and hug you (and I’m not a huge hugger!).
    Warmest thoughts to you…


  28. eof737 says:

    The scanner problem was a blessing in disguise… Sorry about your mom and friend…
    Sending you {{{HUGS}}}


  29. sharechair says:

    I can empathize with this so well. 🙂


  30. Gale Griffiths says:

    Beautifully said.


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