Autumnal Thoughts, Autumnal Tunes

Planet Earth, which we humans increasingly have been making a mess of since the Industrial Revolution began in the late 1700s, nonetheless has remained reliable in various ways. It keeps on spinning, for one thing, and traveling around the Sun, for another. Good thing that it does, no? If those movements were thrown out of whack, we, along with every entity taking up earthly space, would be goners in a couple of blinks of an eye.

Well, as we know, on the 22nd of September those good ol’ reliable movements brought about the autumnal equinox and the vernal equinox in, respectively, the northern and southern hemispheres. This was due to the Sun being directly above the equator, by the way. For me, a resident of the north, this event officially marked the beginning of my favorite time of year — fall — and prompted me to gather some thoughts about that season. Here they are, along with a few recordings that capture fall’s cozy, mellow essence. Damn straight, I’m in an autumnal mood!

This is the main reason why I like autumn as much as I do: I was born in late October, smack in the heart of fall. And my birthday has been lovingly acknowledged and celebrated, by one combination of people or another, every year of my life. Over time it became only natural for me to associate autumn with my birth anniversary. How could I not, seeing that autumn never fails to whisper frequent reminders in my ear about the approaching big day? And when that day arrives, autumn, behind the scenes, is one of the celebrants. Yeah, autumn loves me, and I therefore love autumn back, you dig?

Hatboro, Pennsylvania

To meld with autumn righteously and timely, on its first day this year I took a long walk through Hatboro, a cute town a few miles from where I live in the Philadelphia suburbs. I headed there with the newly-hatched season fully on my mind. The mid-day temperature was lovely, about 73° F (23° C), the skies were as blue as you could hope for, and a light breeze ruffled the few strands of hair that remain on the crown of my head. In other words, the day was pretty damn well ideal. How sweet it was not to be sweating like a pig, which I had done numerous times during walks in the just-departed summer. Autumn weather suits me just fine.

Produce Junction (Hatboro, Pennsylvania)
Hints of gold in a tree in Hatboro, Pennsylvania

Hatboro was starting to get its autumnal mode in order. For instance, I saw scarecrows on a couple of porches and in a couple of store windows, and I gazed with admiration at the arrays of pumpkins in Produce Junction, a store on Hatboro’s main drag. But there was little evidence of fall in the billions of leaves within Hatboro’s boundaries. Only in a smattering of trees did I notice a changing of the color guard, such as in a tree outside of Produce Junction. Hints of gold decorated that specimen, harbingers of full-blown color transformations yet to come. I’m eagerly awaiting mid-to-late autumn’s golds, russets, burgundies and ambers. That palette grabs me powerfully each year, yet tenderly. Yes, autumn is a period of beauty that goes down as satisfyingly as comfort food.

As I walked through Hatboro, I pulled some autumn tunes out of my memory bank and let passages of them play silently in my head. I’ve always loved Autumn Almanac, by The Kinks, and Van Morrison’s Autumn Song. They provided part of my stroll’s soundtrack. As did Harvest Moon, a Neil Young composition that quite a number of musicians have covered. Young’s version is special. It makes me go limp with wonder, so beautiful do I find it. In Hatboro, those songs, and a few others, kept me company excellently.

Back home later that day I did some research into fall-themed songs, discovering Eva Cassidy’s live rendition of Autumn Leaves (music by Joseph Kosma, English lyrics by Johnny Mercer). With vocals emanating from Cassidy’s most-private chambers, this performance would break the hearts of all but the stoniest. And I reconnected with Autumn Serenade (music by Peter DeRose, lyrics by Sammy Gallop), off the album that the famous saxophonist John Coltrane recorded in 1963 with the not-so-famous vocalist Johnny Hartman. A bit more research would have revealed many others, so deep a hold has autumn maintained on songwriters past and present.

Rather than overload this essay with YouTube presentations, I’ve decided to limit the recordings to three. I think you’ll enjoy the following Young, Cassidy and Coltrane/Hartman works. Be well, boys and girls. And, as I usually mention, please don’t be shy about adding your comments.

149 thoughts on “Autumnal Thoughts, Autumnal Tunes

  1. cigarman501 October 12, 2020 / 6:00 am

    I love fall, don’t love winter, but do love fall. Happy Coming Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Janet Sunderland October 12, 2020 / 5:39 pm

    How nice to find you again! Somehow, in the finishing one memoir and getting it off to a publisher, and beginning another only to be given an editing job of some 350 pages and then another developmental editing job on a book of many conflicting pages, which I’ve almost finished, I’d pretty much lost track of everything else. And then, today, I found the Reader link and found all my friends!!
    Sometimes I am a woman of very small brain ….. or maybe only a very limited view….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 12, 2020 / 7:33 pm

      Hey there. I’m glad to hear from you. Good luck with your projects. You most definitely have been busy!

      Like

  3. alhenry October 17, 2020 / 6:05 pm

    Lovely to hear Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” again.

    Yes, the autumn colors are wonderful. I say this as someone who packs 35 leaf bags full of these bright suckers every year. And the late September temps of 73 are delightful, BUT I’m less thrilled with the low 60s freefalling into the chill 50s of October. I weep the day I must put away my tank tops and flip flops, for there are many months of snow and ice between me and heaven again.

    All that aside, a very merry birthday to you, Neil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 17, 2020 / 7:37 pm

      Hi, and thanks. In my mind I’m 25 years younger than what my birth certificate indicates I am. Have fun bagging those leaves. See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cheriewhite October 19, 2020 / 4:20 pm

    Beautiful post! And the pictures remind me of the small town of my younger days during the Fall! How I wish I’d taken the take to appreciate the simple things like, the change of seasons, nature, and living in a town rather than the city, back when I was young. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 19, 2020 / 5:36 pm

      Hi there. Thanks for stopping by. I’m still waiting for the trees to start changing color dramatically. Looks like that is still a week or so off.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cheriewhite October 19, 2020 / 6:05 pm

        Gotcha! That means our dramatic change is about 2-3 weeks away. You’re so welcome! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. M.B. Henry October 19, 2020 / 6:16 pm

    Hope you have a happy October birthday! 🙂

    Like

  6. joylennick October 20, 2020 / 3:53 am

    Hi Neil, Did you like my birthday poem way back? Hope you have a great day. Cheers. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 20, 2020 / 7:00 am

      Very much so. It’s beautiful. Thank you.

      The silence is deafening…
      every careful footfall intrudes.
      Surrounded by a dream world of infinite variety –
      I shiver –
      feel the presence of a talented ghost with a brush;
      look up and see its work: an autumnal labyrinth –
      such beauty to behold,
      A scene to treasure: ochre, scarlet, bronze, topaz and gold.

      Like

  7. melissabluefineart October 21, 2020 / 9:48 am

    Lovely! Happy birthday 🙂
    Now, I’m going to listen to the music….

    Liked by 1 person

      • melissabluefineart October 22, 2020 / 10:25 am

        Be sure and pack some sunscreen…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. America On Coffee October 24, 2020 / 4:51 am

    I love the peaceful stroll. For sure you are a man of all seasons and very adventuresome. I love scarecrows y to II but for now I am in the market for scare ravens!🤔

    Like

  9. jeanleesworld October 24, 2020 / 11:02 pm

    Well, happy birthday to you, my friend, and huzzah to finding some fall color around you! Our colors are all but gone now; it’s a bummer, but I’m just thankful we had the days of vibrance that we did. Snow is promised tomorrow, and we’ll see if the kids must squeeze snowpants beneath their costumes this Halloween. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. KDKH October 29, 2020 / 8:58 pm

    I used to play Eva Cassidy a lot. Such a shame that her life was cut so short.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carolina Vann November 3, 2020 / 8:43 am

    I couldn’t have said it better. Excellent blog, and I love your sense of humor…. Vann

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Silver Screenings November 8, 2020 / 4:02 pm

    I love autumn. The air can be invigorating and the colours are beautiful. I find it inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing these great tunes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 8, 2020 / 5:42 pm

      Hi. We’re having a warmer than usual autumn day here in Pennsylvania today. It got up to 75 degrees F (24 degrees C).

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dave November 9, 2020 / 2:38 pm

    Eva Cassidy – holy cow. What voice control. She reminds me of Roberta Flack, with even more powerful pipes. Thanks for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Angela November 10, 2020 / 7:33 am

    What great selections… Eva Cassidy, bless her, was wonderful. Autumn is absolutely the most beautiful season–those deep blue skies! And this week we’re having them in November!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. MELewis November 23, 2020 / 5:37 am

    Although I was born in high summer, autumn was always my favourite season. Recently though, I’ve gone off November. A depressing month in general. Thanks for the song shares — love my fellow countryman Neil Young especially.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 23, 2020 / 10:45 am

      Hi, and thanks for visiting. I’m a big fan of Neil Young too. I especially like his electric guitar work with Crazy Horse: it’s very intense and deep.

      Liked by 1 person

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