Friday, September 23, 2005

And follow.

it's fall. it's been unseasonably cool here in san francisco, and i have been loving it. in fact, the marked change of season – san francisco's rain and chill and fog – are almost enough to make me forget how spectacular autumn in new england is.

but not quite.

autumn in new england is almost everything i loved about growing up. the air smells sweet, full of ripened apples and burning leaves and by nightfall you can sometimes catch the slightest scent of snow.

the colors, of course, are amazing. experiencing the mutable foliage in new england is like watching a temper tantrum in slow motion. it's as though the trees are angered by the changing season, and turn several fiery shades in protest. but as with children, the tantrum subsides and eventually resigns itself to quieter tones. and soon the quieter leaves fall from the trees, asleep.

but i always thought the best thing about this time of year was that the drier, crisper days made it feel like something exciting was just about to happen. we all knew that september -- not january -- was the real start of the year because it meant back to school, and the air crackled with possibilities.

each year we'd be armed with new clothes and fresh, empty notebooks and we'd face a new configuration of schedules and classes and teachers and friends. what will it be like this year? i'd wonder, knowing that my fate was in september's hands.

so even now, even as a grown-up living in a city far from new england and even further from childhood, september will always be the sweetest month, forever alive with memories of things to come.




happy birthday, mom.


*****

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Follow, follow, follow...

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Follow, follow, follow...

Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December, our hearts should remember
And follow.

Follow, follow, follow.

--Try to Remember, from The Fantasticks

28 comments:

  1. Does my memory deceive me? Or is that from The Fantasticks?

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  2. Yes. Happy Birthday, Lin. She's dearly missed. Lisa

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  3. A most beautiful birthday tribute to your mom. And to autumn. And to the promise of things to come.

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  4. I loveThe Fantastics and that song! And I must say, this whole post was just beautiful and poetic! Loved it! :)

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  5. temper tantrum in slow motion. Poetic. Thank you.

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  6. Those who have never really had that kind of fall can't quite get it, but this totally captures what fall is to those of us that do. Thanks!

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  7. Man, you're good. Loved it!
    I grew up in Southern California where everyone says there are no seasons. It's true they aren't as you so poetically describe but the sensations and ideas are the same. Autumn brings with it a promise of change and new adventures. I've been catalog shopping for sweaters and boots....I just love it all!

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  8. Thank you for making me stop and reflect, Kristy. It was all beautiful.

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  9. She no longer catches up with me..., but, oh, how I remember.

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  10. Thankfulsnow will follow, follow, follow...my heart does remember...I miss my baby sister.

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  11. I can hear Robert Goulet (or was it Roger Whittaker? or was it someone else entirely??) singing that song.

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  12. wow. I've been a lurker so far, but the septemberness made me say hello. I grew up in the bay area, in mill valley. and now I'm out in new york for the 7th fall. what you say about the sense of excitement that comes with september is universal. i can't claim the childhood memory of the staggering beauty of the east coast season changes, but the scent in the air when Fall makes itself known is one that spans the counry, i think. the change in how the moon looks, in how the wind blows, and the breathless, childish excitement that comes with it is something we can all realate to. september may be 'indian summer' in the bay, (um, hi! best time to visit sf tourists!), but the emotion that comes with the season change is one that's felt by everyone.
    thanks, babe for all the times you've cracked me up, 3000 miles away.
    Kajsa

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  13. In New England, today was the first real fall day. It's been quite warm and nothing has turned colors yet, nor has it been cold enough to wear long pants, never mind sweaters. But today was different, that first day of fall when you awaken and think "I need socks and corderoy pants". We went for a long walk with a friend and noted that chrysanthemums (sp?) were now the flowers in bloom, and the impatiens were dying off. The town pool is drained, the lake is closed to swimming, and people are starting to think about rotating their radials. Yup...autumn in New England. Gotta stock up on that IceMelt.

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  14. Awww shit...I thought it was the Muppets who did that song....

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  15. Autumn in my part of Canada is very similar to how you describe it. I especially enjoy the mornings when the frost is still on the trees and the colors of the leaves are just peeking through like a child snuggled warm in bed peeking through the covers, waiting to come out. The sun rises, casting it's fiery glow across the sky as if attempting to blanket the ground with it's radiant warmth.

    It's those moments, when all is quiet and time seems to stand still, that I remember just how special it is to see the world through my eyes.

    Thank you for the reminder. I needed it this morning.

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  16. When I visited SF,CA I did not believe the Golden gate Bridge existed...the fog was so THICK I did not SEE it until Alcatraz...kind of a joke.
    Your dedication to your Mom was ( is? ) beautiful!

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  17. my recording of the song -- which i've taken to listening to in the mornings -- is sung by jerry orbach.

    and for those of you who are sentimentalists and haven't heard this song, i recommend you do. it's oh-so-lovely (and yes, from The Fantasticks).

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  18. I spent the first 10 years (and many summers and holidays there after) of my life in the Bay Area. I have to agree that it is very lovely in September, but nothing will ever top October for me. Every where I have ever visited in October is magical.

    Don't miss the pumpkin festival in Half Moon Bay! It really is worth the drive.

    ~ Lisa

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  19. Kiki - Mom's favorite month was October. I could be wrong (doubtful), but I think it's spelled fantastiks. And my favorite version was with Harry Belafonte.

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  20. yeah, i think it is spelled 'fantastiks' also.

    in any case, when healy was in the fantastiks, she dedicated her bio to mom in a similar way, because of her birthday and her wedding anniversaries. and she really did love the start of school (probably way more than we did!).

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  21. I have a hard time explaining to people why my favorite time of the year is September and October. The bite in the air, the smell, the colors....the pumpkin patch trip I take with my kids.

    Sigh...

    I love this time of year....

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  22. doesn't one need to cite when quoting? so it doesn't look like an original work?

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  23. okay, so i think it IS actually 'the fantasticks'. at least according to amazon.

    and anon, i didn't mean to imply it was an original work. i'll change it.

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  24. Oh K, you just made me miss autumn in Wisconsin in the worst way. The leaves, the bite in the air, the smell of wood smoke, Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations, hot apple cider, warm fuzzy sweaters, hay rides, the pumpkin harvest. LA seems to be a bit chillier and it’s rained in the last week, but it’s nothing like the wonders of the season you’ll find elsewhere. I just have to remember that I’ll be thanking my lucky stars when I’m enjoying fair sunny weather in March when everyone in Wisconsin is cursing the three feet of snow still on the ground and hoping it melts by Easter.

    A beautiful tribute to your mom by the way :)

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  25. Fall in Wisconsin is the best! And winter can suck sometimes, but snow rules.

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  26. K-
    That was beautiful. Fall's my favorite time of year, particularly September. Thanks for such a wonderfully written post.

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