Last week, a friend visiting Florida from New York looked at the mountains of leaves in our yard and asked, “Why are the leaves falling now? It’s spring.”

I smiled, even as I choked on clouds of pollen, and showed her the layer of green that coats everything these days. Here in Central Florida, the stately live oaks shed their leaves AFTER the winter. Over a period of weeks, the leaves fall, then pollen covers everything in yellowish green and allergy sufferers like myself pop antihistamines and decongestants like candy. We rake, vacuum, mulch, sneeze and rake some more.

Hubby Tackling the Leaf Mounds

Hubby Tackling the Leaf Mounds

Until finally, they’re done falling. One day we look up and see bright green new leaves on the trees. Finally, finally, finally. Then, and only then, do we rake one last time and start hauling the mountains of leaves—endless truckloads we can’t spread out behind the azalea hedges—to the dump. The house and deck furniture get pressure washed, and then, we are ready for spring. Tired, but ready.

Honestly, after living here for 18 years, sometimes, we just don’t want to do this anymore. I’ve lived up north and while the piles of leaves are far less heavy, cold and generally miserable to deal with than endless snow shoveling, that sinking feeling the task will never end is similar.

But mid-whine, I was reminded that we have to get rid of the old to make room for the new.

In our yard. In our home.

In our minds.

It’s time to clean out the leaves. Everywhere. Throw out the things that are holding you back–creatively, mentally, physically.

Pressure wash all the emotional yuck left by the doubt gremlins and start fresh.

Remember those resolutions you made for 2015? The goals you set, personally, professionally, creatively? Dust them off, hose off the pollen, and look at them with fresh eyes. Get excited about why you made these resolutions to begin with. Isn’t it time for clearing out the leaves?

There is nothing quite like the feeling when the last of the dead leaves are gone and we can sit on our clean deck behind our clean house and enjoy the warmth of spring.

We’re not quite there yet; but for me, the excitement of a new story is peeking through the piles.

What ‘leaves’ do you need to clear out?