Saturday Single No. 92

Originally posted September 27, 2008

Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December,
But the days grow short when you reach September.

No, I’m not channeling intimations of mortality this morning. But it is autumn, my favorite of seasons. I often wonder if there’s some sliver of my being that lingers from the long-ago days of my Swedish and German ancestors, some bit of soul memory that recalls the Septembers and Octobers of Northern Europe. For I connect with that distant past as the leaves turn their browns, golds and reds and then release themselves from their trees. It pleases me on some level to hear talk of first frost, and I note the passing of the equinox, when the nighttime begins to fill more of our hours than does the daylight, with the quiet satisfaction of a man who feels his best time is come again.

This is my season. Were I a vintner, my wines would be autumnal and bittersweet.

In all those things mentioned above – the chilling of the weather, the fading of the leaves, the fading of the light – there lies the metaphor of our of own chilling and fading. And simple time sometimes reminds us, too. My father had his first heart attack thirty-four years ago this week, just before he turned fifty-five, the age I attained earlier this month. I think about that as I look out my study window and watch the oaks trees surrendering their leaves, one by one, in the Saturday breeze.

My father survived that trial and lived through another twenty-eight autumns before leaving on a late springtime day in 2003. I don’t foresee an early exit for me, either, no matter the twinge of melancholy that autumn brings with its winds. Sinatra’s song, written by Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill, as drear as it may sound, has a promise at the end.

Promises can be cruel things, and – knowing that – I once told my loved one that I could not promise forever. But, I said, I would promise tomorrow. Come tomorrow, I would promise another tomorrow. And then another and another, until all the tomorrows were done. That’s a promise I will keep.

Sinatra, as he closes his 1965 album, September of my years, sings:

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few.
September. November.
And these few precious days, I’ll spend with you.
These precious days I’ll spend with you.

So, for my Texas Gal, and for all those anywhere who hold to love while the leaves fall and the days dwindle, Frank Sinatra’s “September Song” is this week’s Saturday Single.

Frank Sinatra – “September Song” [1965]

 Edited slightly during archival posting August 15, 2011.

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