It’s the beginning of November, and I can’t help but think of how much I have to do. Autumn has the effect on me that spring has on most of the rest of the world: I feel the need to organize and scrub every inch of my cave. I don work clothes and get right to the nasty job of cleaning out cobwebs and unearthing spiders from their dark corner hideouts. I carry spring and summer things upstairs and carry fall and winter things downstairs. It’s the kind of workout I’ve been needing for months, and the smell of clean in the house tickles my nose the same way the cold morning air does when I start my car.

Autumn is my time of renewal. I look outside when the days begin to shorten and the nights begin to cool, and I watch the trees begin their rainbow dance. Oranges and burgundies, reds and yellows, green still hanging on in places. The colors progress, and then the rainbows in the field begin: green combines and red tractors, orange wagons loaded with golden kernels, silver semis chugging black smoke into the blue sky.

Even as the colors march from trees to fields, the days shorten and we gain an imaginary hour when the clocks jump back. All of a sudden, the pile of wood outside, so tall just a few months ago, seems to shrink now that our need for it has grown. The work we have not done all summer—but when did we have time, we frantically calculate—looms ahead, giving us an urgency. I see unwashed covers and neglected corners and thousands of to-do tasks. I notice the spiders not as welcome bug killers, but as invaders of my territory. I drink evening tea to keep my fingers warm and once more sleep in socks.

Renewal means energy. All this work undone—and the reality of doing it all is impossible. And yet…I feel hope. I see how the dying world is only hunkering down, preparing for winter and waiting for spring. I know there’s a limit to how long winter can last, and I know that in this time when I feel energy from the sunrises and inspiration from the sunsets is a time I must harness and use.

I find myself, when I’m praying, coming closer to the One who made all of this miraculous autumn beauty. I find myself thanking Him for the glory of pumpkins and the joy of music. I can’t help but enjoy the menial tasks I’m doing, because I feel like it is my small part of the kingdom of heaven.

Does that sound crazy? It does to me. And yet, here I am, in the renewal of autumn.