Change of Year, Change of Seasons

Greetings.   I’m very enthusiastic about this newest venture of the Writing Wombats, our collective blog.  I’ve been a member of the wombats from it’s early days and got to know many of my wombat colleagues by competing in writing contests.  I will tend to write about writing itself, but also travel quite a bit, so I’ll add bits on that from time to time. 

Now, with no further adieu, here’s my first post on Wombat Wisdom.  A slightly different version of the post can be found on my blog

In New England, this is a time of year when one tends to wake up in the dark, experience a shortened day, then drive home in the dark.  No small wonder that all of this darkness takes a toll on the psyche. But as of the winter solstice, the days began to get a little longer, even though the visible effects are hard to see so far. 

Some effects of the change of seasons are much more obvious.  Here’s a glimpse of Fall from a trip we took to North Carolina in late November.  

Just after Christmas, we went from a late Fall look to mid-winter.  Here’s what it looked like in our neighborhood during the height of the Blizzard of 2010.  

Christmas pictures - 2010 015 
Viva la difference. 

For writers, the change of seasons can be a tool, a powerful metaphor for the constant process of renewal that goes on from season to season, year to year and even longer cycles.  As the seasons change, the life of a character changes as well.  In New England, the winter season presents a built -in set of hardships to be overcome, giving characters a chance to see how they’ll cope during tough times.  For New Englanders, even the summer can be challenge, since the memories of the darker seasons to come never totally recede from one’s mind.  By contrast, there’s less of this dramatic change for a resident of southern California or Florida, so they need to come up with their own touchstones to mark change.  

I personally like the changes in the season and my outdoor pastimes change from walking, biking and swimming in the summer to cross country skiing in the winter.  The winter is also a time to spend more time indoors, tending to all of those things that often get neglected when the weather outside is just too good to give up. For a writer, this can be the time to clean up the clutter from your desktop and spend more time on working on manuscripts. For the reader, it’s a great time to go to the library or your local bookstore and get those books you’ve been promising yourself.  

So what do you think about the change of seasons and the move to a new year?  Is this a time you savor or one you hope you’ll soon be past?


About the author

James Rafferty has been a published writer in a variety of magazines and journals for over twenty years. He has also written a coming of age novel entitled Growing Up Single which he is querying. He is currently working on his second novel. He blogs about writing, travel and personal technology on the James Rafferty blog and its Writer's Notebook series. James belongs to the Writing Wombats writing group and Grub Street, a Boston based writers group. He also has written a variety of short stories which can be found at under posts. James has also been active in the telecommunications business in recent years and ran his own consulting business during the Nineties. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. In addition to writing and reading, he enjoys playing guitar, exploring the outdoors and spending time with his family.

»» 4 Responses to “Change of Year, Change of Seasons” »»
  1. Kat Sheridan says:

    Winter is always so pretty, so long as I don’t have to be out in it! I’m enjoying spending the winters in Florida, although it definitely means getting accustomed to new rythms, after a lifetime of winters in the north. I’m curious to see how it will affect my writing patterns.

  2. Hi Kat. We just got slammed by another storm yesterday up here in New England. The main result was to shut down just about everything for a day, though working online was still possible. It ended up being a low key day with time for writing at the end. Ironically, the writing was about a day on the beach. White sands, white snow — hey, why not?

  3. Dale says:

    I always gain ten pounds during the winter and lose ten to twenty in the summer, partly because my earing habits don’t change but I have no regular physical activities for the winter. The exercycle is helping this winter, but it isn’t as good as having something real to do.

  4. Beth says:

    I love the change of seasons and look forward to both the newness and the inevitability of the change. I can’t imagine living in the tropics, each day the same. I need variety. I like the different smells and the feeling of a cold day and the heat of a warm day. I enjoy the different skies and the changing of flowers and trees.

    Variety is good.