"All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray" are the words which led the Mamas and the Papas into their great song built around the power and majesty of autumn's changes to the landscape, and to personal changes in our lives.
The song is California Dreamin' and it is the result of a dream John Phillips had. He turned it into song with his wife, Michelle Phillips. It is one of the most significant songs about autumn.
Songs about autumn remind us of this time of year, when cooler weather arrives, with a touch of bitter cold, and of leaves turning brown, orange, red, yellow and other colors. Nature signals the cycle of life as many plants move forward in the first step toward new life coming in the springtime.
"Autumn in New York" is a song from a musical in the mid 1930s. Written originally for stage performance, it became a jazz legend, sung by Billie Holiday and many others. It became a favorite of music teachers like Annabel Carter of Lufkin, who made it a part of the fall musical presentations of her Lufkin Junior High choirs.
"Autumn in New York" is written about New York City, but its words apply to almost any city as the signs of fall arrive. There's something invigorating about autumn. It's that change from the sweltering heat of summer. It's the foreshadowing of cold winter days to come. To borrow a line from Goldilocks, of Three Bears fame, autumn is just right.
By the time the leaves all fall, winter will be upon us. The hardwoods will lose their cover and we will see remnants of the various nests and homes animals have made in them. I love seeing the squirrel nests ensconced in mighty oaks and maples. But the tall, lean evergreen pine trees remain brilliantly dark green against the overcast skies above them. While their castaway needles lie in orange, dried out layers on the ground, their remaining needles never looked better.
The contrast of the defoliated hardwoods against the evergreens is one of the things that makes East Texas so enchanting. I cannot drive the two lane roads of our region without being smitten by the natural beauty autumn brings us. Life recycling. Life enduring. Plants and animals hunkered down for the coming winter.
Every year we go through this cycle. We see the end of summer. We see the arrival of autumn. We brace for colder weather of winter, which is often thankfully mild in our region. If we have a stretch of sub freezing weather, it's news.
Our winters are mild. Our autumns are colorful. Our springs are full of life. Our summers are two months too long. But life in East Texas is good every year, come drought, storms or fires. We manage to get through it, and life goes on.
Copyright 2017, Jim "Pappy" Moore, all rights reserved.