September 4, 2008

When autumn comes, it doesn't ask...

Persephone's eaten of the pomegranate, and so the transition begins. A handful of cooler days strung together, with one or two scorching hot ones in between to let us know that summer's still hanging on by its fingernails. This time of year runs me through a gamut of moods ranging from agitation to excitement, melancholy to anticipation. As the summer winds down, I find myself torn, having to choose between vigorous bike rides or languorous hikes through the woods. I want to be out there taking advantage of what warmth is left to ride for hours under the glorious blue sky. And I dread the coming of winter and the depression it often brings. But the sudden crispness in the morning air causes images to appear behind my eyes of the beautiful, solitary places I go when it's too chilly to ride, and the pull is hard to resist.

Impending autumn also turns my literary fancies in a very specific direction. I begin reaching for collections of Edgar Allen Poe, M.R. James, and Algernon Blackwood, weird gothic stuff that makes me eager for Halloween. Not surprisingly (depending on how well you know me), Halloween's my favorite holiday. In year's past, I've attended the annual Poe celebration at Baltimore's Westminster Hall, at which Poe, his young cousin/wife, and his aunt/mother-in-law are buried. I've also hung out along the edge of a crumbling 1700's-era cemetery in Shepherdstown and watched young (and not-so-young) tricker-treaters gambol by. This year's plan may be to experience Terror Behind the Walls at Philadelphia's historic Eastern State Penitentiary, though the details of that have yet to be worked out. Regardless of what I end up doing, October 31st is a day I look forward to like Jack Skellington dreaming of Christmas.



And just as the trees change color and transform, I'm inspired to make changes in my life, sometimes great, sometimes small. At this point in time, it doesn't seem that I'll be making the leap to restaurateur-ship or moving on to a new job. And re-locating to a new home's not in the picture any time soon yet, either. But there are other, subtler changes that can invigorate and inspire me. Even something as simple as a change of haircolor, from honey-brown to a deep and mysterious soft black.



Superficial, but fun. But what's behind these urges, this yearning for newness and transformation? It's not like the feverish awakening of spring, there's a tang of frustration and urgency in the feeling of autumn. So while that feeling excites and motivates, there's also an edge to it. Is it the relationship between autumn and death symbolized in the myth of Persephone, Demeter and Hades?
Is it an atavistic fear of facing the onward rushing cycles of nature and time? Or is it merely the realization of summer's daylight hours waning into winter's early darkness?

A nice bit of synchronicity this evening. A thread at the Incubus forum led me to a John Mayer tune that nicely sums up the darker side of that indefinable autumn feeling...

Something's Missing

I'm not alone.
I wish I was.
Cause then I'd know
I was down because
I couldn't find
a friend around
To love me like
they do right now.
They do right now.

I'm dizzy from
the shopping malls.
I searched for joy,
but I bought it all.
It doesn't help
the hunger pains,
and a thirst I'd have to drown first
to ever satiate.

Something's missing
And I don't know how to fix it
Something's missing
And I don't know what it is
At all

When autumn comes,
it doesn't ask.
It just walks in
where it left you last.
And you never know
when it starts,
until there's fog inside the glass around
your summer heart.

Something's missing
And I don't know how to fix it
Something's missing
And I don't know what it is
At all

I can't be sure that this state of mind
is not of my own design.
I wish there was an over the counter test
for loneliness.
For loneliness like this.

Something's missing
And I don't know how to fix it
Something's missing
And I don't know what it is
No I don't know what it is
Something's different
And i don't know what it is
No I don't know what it is

Friends -check- Money -check-
Well slept -check- Opposite sex -check-
Guitar -check- Microphone -check-
Messages waiting for me, when i come home -check-

How come everything I think I need,
always comes with batteries?
What do you think it means...


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