Everyone knows, it’s a trade off to live in Southern California. The near perfect weather trades hands with the impossibility of four seasons.  We get streets lined with palm trees with all of their handsome waves.  The rest of the country gets amber waves of leaves.

I grew up knowing east coast Autumns like a favorite friend.  The changing leaves left me with a heavy familiarity in the air.  It was a golden sweetness that rang a bell: a new school year was here.  While he got settled in, Autumn was the friend who let Summer keep one foot in the garden, but only if daughter Humidity first went home.

Those autumns slowly left town around the same time each year.  I tried to write him letters, but never heard back.

Then I learned what Blake had discovered, long before I did — Autumn never wanted letters, he wanted a song.

To Autumn

William Blake (1783)

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.


[ Holga by Bowman ]

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