Oh, I miss you most of all my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall
from "Autumn Leaves," English lyrics by Johnny Mercer
A cloudy dreary day, here in Lotusland, the start of "fall," a silly word really. Do we know from where and for why we call this new season by a name that suggests that we are descending, like rebel angels, from the fun and frolic of lazy hazy day summer?
Summer, now, there’s a more apt name for a season, where ‘some are” doing this, ‘some are” doing that, individual freedom fearless in the face of fun. Whereas, “fall” seems to send us to our rooms for a “time-out,” or summon us to the office of the principal for being too wild and reckless on the water or bike trails, being absent too long from school or from knuckling down to hard study.
“Fall” is too biblical; an atonement for our Summer sins, like we are all commanded to gather and cuddle together, trembling in fear of a heaven-sent Old Man Winter, who will soon come to blow the bejesus out of us, if we survive the dark rains of November, Le Moi Du Mort.
“Autumn” is a much better word, suggestive of a softer landing for us rebel angels; a kinda buxom Swiss hostel maiden welcoming us into a multi-coloured universe, handing us a warm cuppa of grog and a rocking chair by the hearth.
Autumn is a time when squirrels and other little creatures shuffle around, darting here and thither, chattering away, in a way only they understand; scooping up their acorns and such, for the long winter to come.
Look, we can build beds of leaves and frolic in them; destroy them, and rebuild them again. It’s as Buddhists with their mandalas. Everything is impermanent but splendid at the same time.
You can even pick up a rainbow-coloured maple leaf, stick it in-between sheets of plastic and preserve its beauty and its meaning and contribution to life, as a cosmic message, making us less fearful of “death.”
We can be kids, again. We can kick those little acorns, the ones the squirrels have yet gathered up, down a sidewalk, as we stroll to the corner store, in the morning, while remembering that once the snow flies, we can be out there opening our grateful gobs to the great white flakes, to feel them gently rest on our out-stretched tongues. In that, there is already the taste of spring.
What do we make of the term “Equinox?” Too harsh sounding, isn’t it? I’m not even going to look up its source. Out. Vamoose. Done. Erased. Gone.
The word sounds like a chain saw buzzing into our beautiful flowered lives, cutting us into two, “now” and “then.” It hardly gives us time to say "Eh? What? Huh?" before we’re staring at the same photograph we looked at yesterday, looking amazed at how much we have faded overnight, turning into ghosts of ourselves. Before and After. Abrupt. Heartless.
“Equinox” sounds like someone has your family jewels in the cosmic vice and is about to rearrange them or squash them into tiny stones.
Imagine a woman or a man for that matter, calling “menopause” by such a term!
"Sorry dear, I’m having my Equinox right now. If I start to blubber uncontrollably over a cereal box cover or bite your head off for the noise ya make zipping up your pants, I can’t help it.”
No. Most people refer to that time of life as a “change,” which does not imply a negative connotation. It merely suggests a transition into a new life.
The song is “Autumn Leaves” for a reason. Though a lament, it is not a forty-day-old cold cut served on a grey plate by a stone-silent Monk from the Grand Chartreuse monastery.
Although leaves do “fall,” they evolve over winter to become part of the spring mulch, and regenerated into new life forms.
So get out there and kick a few leaves around. Whack those acorns down the sidewalk.
Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.
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