‘Darker Days Are Drawing Near . . .’

In September and October, the moment when daytime ends and dusk begins comes a bit earlier each evening. Day by day, in increments of minutes, it gets darker earlier, a gradual shift that’s part of nature’s eternal ritual. Still, most days in those months this year ended with the sun still shining on the brown, gold, orange and red remnants of summer. It was, in these parts, a beautiful autumn.

And then, as it does every November, the heavy curtain fell.

The ending of October brings the end of Daylight Saving Time, so we set our clocks back, and the dark of, say, seven o’clock in the evening becomes the dark of six instead. The artificial transfer of an hour of daylight to the morning hours doesn’t much matter; sunrise moves from about eight o’clock to seven here in the north, but that hour is occupied by preparations for the day and the additional light goes pretty much unnoticed. Sunrise will continue to be later and later for another seven or so weeks, so very soon, those in the workaday world will be going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. For those without windows at work, sunlight will be a rumor.

With the days frequently filled with clouds, and with darkness continuing to squeeze away daylight at each end of the waking day, this time of year can be gloomy. Unlike summer, in the case of the Texas Gal, or early autumn in my own, the last half of autumn is a hard season to embrace.

There are, of course, blessings to find in this time of transition into the chill austerity of winter: Home seems cozier. With most garden tasks completed – some clean-up does remain here in the house of procrastination – there will be more time for reading, for quilting, for experimenting with new recipes. Our fruit cellar’s shelves are filled with pickles and beans and relishes, and our internal scrapbooks are filled with memories of time spent in the sun, much of it with friends; all of that will provide nourishment for the body and the soul as we head into the colder months.

One of the better autumnal records for years has been “Forever Autumn” by Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. Hayward’s recording of the tune first surfaced, if I have things right, in a 1978 concept album titled Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, a retelling in music and text of H.G. Wells’ tale. But “Forever Autumn” predated that production.

Paul Vigrass and Gary Osborne were a singer/songwriter duo from the United Kingdom, releasing two albums: Queues in 1972 and Steppin’ Out in 1974. “Forever Autumn” was on Queues. Vigrass and Osborne wrote the lyrics while Jeff Wayne, their producer, wrote the music for the piece, which ended up as the B-side to one of the duo’s singles. Their recording of “Forever Autumn” isn’t as melancholy as Hayward’s, but it’s a nice piece:

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One Response to “‘Darker Days Are Drawing Near . . .’”

  1. Don’t happen to have either of those albums does ya?

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