The autumn years of life. The harvest of a lifetime. Gathering together the products of work and character. There’s something nostalgic and lonesome about autumn, sweet and melancholic. Glossy photos of food and family and warm colors seem so appetizing. I am planning to host Thanksgiving dinner for Steve’s family, and I keep daydreaming about how the table will look. I want my home to be filled with warmth and love, good smells, earthy colors, sparkles of glass, silver, and candlelight. Of course, this will be on a modest scale. Martha Stewart does not live anywhere near here. I have song lyrics stuck in my head from Barry Manilow’s “Paradise Cafe 2:00am” CD… “Oh, how I hate to see October go.” How will I get my Thanksgiving vegetables now that the farmer’s market is closed? The acorn squash and broccoli we had last night were delicious, dressed only in butter, salt & pepper. The earth is so good to us and autumn is the applause before a winter curtain. How do you feel when you’re giving a standing ovation, damp-faced and shining, heart bursting, swallowing hard, delaying your exodus into the next moment? I feel that way about autumn. I remember driving home from dropping one of my children off at preschool one cloudy November day and bursting into tears. I tried to figure out what that was about and ended up writing this poem:
In autumn, the trees start to sing once again
of the bittersweet mystery of change.
Is it beauty or pain now attached to my soul?
Is it grief…or relief…or nostalgia?
In the scarlet and gold,
the blood-red of life’s hold…on my heart
and the warmth of its love
mingles memories and years
into afternoon tears
falling softly…as leaves…to the ground.