I spent some time on Tuesday reading old stories and blog posts that I wrote years ago, along with other people’s writings on a website I once enjoyed that is no longer active. Maybe it was the damp, chilly feel of a dark November afternoon that put me into this reflective mood, gathering fragments of past selves like autumn leaves fallen from bare branches.

Bush with bare branches in front of a brick wall. 

I’ve had similar feelings in the past as winter drew near; but this year they seemed different, more peaceful and natural somehow. Rather than worrying that I had lost my creative spark, moping about the loss of online friends who had found other interests, or trying to force myself to work on current projects, I quietly acknowledged the feelings while knowing that they soon would pass. I didn’t judge the merits of my current writing by comparison with my past efforts, nor did I turn a critical eye on my previous work. All that happened, simply put, was that I spent a little time visiting with myself.

When I started composing this post, I wrote the word “melancholy” in the first paragraph instead of “reflective” to describe these feelings because that was how I thought of them in past years. I suspected they might be unhealthy—perhaps a symptom of seasonal depression? I didn’t know where they came from, what purpose they served, or why they might be showing up at this particular time of year.

Then I edited the post because I don’t believe that anymore. On the contrary, it seems likely that some of the stress I felt in past years was a consequence of not taking enough time to pause and reflect. Because our culture pushes us so hard to be active and productive at all times, it can feel unsettling to step aside from all those to-dos and spend more than a few minutes looking back on past experiences. But now, on these short, dark days when my inner voice speaks of quiet reflection, I trust that it has its reasons.


  1. Aw this is beautiful Meg! I think I could stand to spend a bit more time in reflection of the past. I tend to get all caught up in thoughts about the future and not take time to look back so much.

  2. This is lovely! It comes from the heart and you can tell! We all should take time for reflecting, I love having old journals to help me do that.

    • Much appreciated, Carolyn! Blogs are fun because they’re shared; but for that same reason, they don’t have the same intimate feeling as a private journal. I kept journals as a teenager, but nowadays I prefer blogging instead because it forces me to take more care with the entries. If I get in a bad mood and scribble down something that is not suitable for posting on my blog, then I probably wouldn’t want to save it forever in a journal either!

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