Today, I had the chance to see the leaves of the trees around my building changing color, so that the yellows and reds could be seen along with the greens. For a variety of reasons, some of them quite odd, I must admit, I have always deeply identified with the beauty of fall and the last flowering and harvesting of life that occurs before the yearly death of winter. I suppose in some way, even though I was born in mid-summer, I have always identified with that last period of fading light before darkness appears to envelop the world. Perhaps it comes with my own melancholy sense of approaching darkness, but it has suited the mood of my entire life, a mixture of harvesting and preparing for the long winter that is coming.
Of course, I have not lived in lands that always had such dramatic changes of season. Most of my life I have spent in warm lands where the leaves often remained green until they fell (if they did) to allow the next year’s leaves to flourish. In colder climates, like the hilly land where I was born and the valley where I now live, one can see the colors of the leaves change in anticipation of the winter to come, giving a rich and colorful beauty that is to be remembered in the dark and deary times that are to come. All too often the beauty of the autumn is something that we appreciate at the time but often forget in the long and dark days that follow that beauty, rather than remembering that life is stronger than death, that beauty triumphs over the ugliness of this life, and that what seems to us to be the triumph of death and decay merely represents a fallow period where life sprouts forth unknown and with even greater vigor.
When I was a child my mother somehow ended up with a copy of a book about what colors best suited people based on a seasonal scheme, and the book was called Color Me Beautiful. Being the sort of child who devoured books rather relentlessly, a quality that to some extent has remained true for me  even as an adult, I naturally read the book and pondered what sort of colors would best suit me, even if most of the colors in the book were really geared more towards women’s clothes. Looking at my skin and hair color, I saw myself to be an autumn, well suited to forest greens and pumpkin and many shades of blue, some of which are far easier to find for guy’s clothing than others. At any rate, I’m not sure how many others would be even slightly intrigued in such matters, but I remember my mother (who is a winter herself) commenting about the fact that television personalities in Tampa would often not be sufficiently sophisticated to wear flattering colors. I suppose it is strange what one remembers.
Even the music I like to listen to often has an autumnal quality to it. For example, I am working on singing a song from Billy Joel for the next Thanksgiving show at my local congregation, a song of great autumnal beauty coming from his penultimate studio album before the winter of his retirement from the music industry. Another song I have always loved is a tune called “Atlantic” by Keane, which is a song of autumnal beauty about love and loneliness. I suppose I can relate to those sorts of songs all too easily, given their combination of passion and longing, of beauty and depth of melancholy reflection. Such a combination of emotions reflects me rather well. It does appear as if life has given me much in this time to reflect on for the beauty of autumn, for gratitude and reflection, and the triumph of light over darkness and light over death even as winter approaches.