From late summer and as this autumn progresses — it seems like the constant theme is loss. While the wild colors of fall leaves in the mid-Atlantic are glorious as always, this year each falling leaf is accompanied by a sadness that a once beautiful, green, living life has passed onto the other side — the whithering side where memories grow dust in the farthest reaches of the mind. Grief and mourning are constants in life of course — there can be no birth without its opposite of death; it is also at this time of year when temperatures turn colder and cozy scarves abound that songs on the radio proclaim as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ are endless. Autumn serves as a not subtle reminder, that to move towards rebirth we must plunge into darkess — and thanks for daylight savings time, darkness comes ever so early during this season.
On the day of the most recent human passing, pennies appeared at nearly every turn on my daily walk — my cousin has reminded me regularly since the death of her brother in August how pennies rain down on us from heaven. Bing Crosby sang ‘Pennies from Heaven’ in a 1936 film of the same title; other famous artists of the time recorded the song as well including Billie Holiday and Tommie Dorsey — a decade later Frank Sinatra, then Tony Bennet, Rosemarie Clooney — the list is long, and a list I never would’ve thought to look for, had I not been nearly tripping over pennies. The Sinatra version can be heard here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/pennies-from-heaven-lyrics-frank-sinatra.html — the most poignat lyric, “If you want the things you love, you must have showers.” And so must we have autumn — with all its sadness. While working towards the light and all its meanings from religious to earth-bound and metaphorical — the real movement is finding the beauty in those dusty memories that contradicts the raw placidness of falling leaves. Autumn is death in living reality. It is often said that memory fades with time, or that memories are enhanced to inaccruate levels of enlightened delusion — but perhaps not so, perhaps memories are the lights that carry and sustain us (however contrary to historic record). What is light if not manifest joy? What is a scuffed, or shimmering penny in the wane light of a fall afternoon, if not a tiny speck of light tossed into our path for remembrance?