Saturday Single No. 559

Autumn, that most melancholy and sweetest of the four seasons, is here in full. I should be appreciating the glint of sunshine on golden and red leaves as they fall. I should be watching great V’s of waterfowl as they make their ways across the skies heading south. I should be nodding in appreciation as a song of loss and growth and hope plays in the car or the study.

I should be enjoying autumn as I have almost always done.

But this has been a dismal season so far. We have had many more days of rain and cloud than of sunshine in the past four weeks, and most of the leaves that have fallen from the oaks and the basswood here lie sodden on the lawn. One cannot kick one’s way joyfully through wet leaves.

My physical ailments – my cramping and stiffening legs – make it difficult as well for me to find joy in the season. Neither physical therapy nor a wealth of advice drawn from numerous sources seem to be helping, and I am worried.

And this autumn is different in at least one other way. My sister and I both have September birthdays, and when I wished her well during a phone call the other day, she noted that this year’s birthdays were our first without either of our parents. She said our mom often called her about 7:30 in the morning on her birthday, as that was the time of day she was born. I said that Mom often called me at 7:50 in the evening on my birthday for the same reason. And then neither of us said much for a few moments.

Not all the leaves have fallen yet, and we may still get the sunny days that have always leavened autumn’s melancholy for me in years past. My ailments may subside; if they do not, I will find ways to live with them. My grief will never disappear, but it will fade to a level that I can both tolerate and embrace.

And if it still turns out that this autumn is not one I can celebrate or cherish, well, I have had similarly sad autumns before, and I may have them again. Likewise, I may still have one or more gloriously bittersweet autumns waiting for me in the years to come. And as I ponder those things, I remind myself that here in this human plane of joy and woe, we are granted those things we need at the times we need them.

And that tells me that I must embrace this season with all its disappointments and worries just as fully as I have embraced the seasons that were sweet and thus more easily embraced.

As for music this morning, here’s the wistful and lovely “Early Autumn” by Toots Thielemans. It’s from his 1958 album Time Out For Toots, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

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3 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 559”

  1. Marie says:

    Hi whiteray,

    Sorry to hear that you’re struggling physically and that the season causes you to feel your loss more keenly. I admire your positive outlook!

    Unfortunately, I can’t play your videos. The message is: “This video is not available.” Is it just me, I wonder?

  2. whiteray says:

    I don’t know why, Marie. This is a public video put up by, I think, the company that owns his copyrights. You’re in Canada, right? P.S., Thanks for the kind words!

  3. jb says:

    Feelin’ you, my brother. October is the month I love more than any other, but I am having a hard time feeling it this year. My reasons are different from yours, but whatever the reason, the splendor of the natural world (such as it is, late and not very colorful here in southern Wisconsin) has a hard time lifting the gloom that comes from living in the world we bumbling humans have created. I am hopeful that good days (and better autumns) might be yet to come, but I wonder.

    If anything is going to help, music and writing will, so carry on, and I’ll do the same.

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