I have finally put my garden to bed for the long rainy winter ahead, raking the fallen leaves from my Japanese leaf maple over the delicate Quinault strawberries and (I fervently hope) hardy herbs. Probably the hardest task was cutting back the remaining flowers like the rudbeckia, this year’s standout in an unusually long, hot summer.

I feel a bit of sadness wash over me doing these fall chores. It’s a bit like saying goodbye to stalwart friends who were always up for a bit of fun when I needed cheering up. But then I remind myself that much like snowbirds, my older neighbors who flee before the cold and rain to sunnier southern climes, they’ll be back again in late spring, carrying their stored warmth with them.

In the meantime, I will console myself by fully embracing the seasons in-between: long dark nights to cozy up with a book and mug of coffee . . . gray rainy days when the best place to be is inside at my desk, writing.