The Autumn of My Years

Posted on 20 October 2011

As the world turns slowly and inexorably on its axis, we find ourselves once again in autumn, a season ushered in on September 21st (the Autumnal Equinox).

Warm days married to cool nights hint that summer is on the wane.  Famed in song and story, autumn marks the end of the growing season and a time of harvest, of preparing for winter.  Right now, many people who enjoy making and drinking wine are enjoying their bumper harvest of grapes.  I happen to be one of those people.

At the age of twelve, I was introduced to the art of wine making by my grandfather.  His first step was to select and order the type of grapes that he enjoyed.  After the grapes were delivered, they were crushed, and the resulting mash placed in barrels for fermentation.  Nature required about ten days to complete her initial fermentation cycle.  When they’d passed, he would press the mash and store the juice in barrels to continue the aging process.  The normal time span for the wine’s maturation was approximately six months: springtime.  Wine making is not an undertaking for an impatient soul, but it’s well worth the wait.  And there is something both comforting and satisfying in sipping a glass of wine that you yourself have created.

In the animal kingdom, the cooler, shorter days signal the fauna to begin to store food and body fat to prepare for the cold, austere winter.  Hibernating animals, such as bears, gorge themselves to prepare for a long winter’s nap before the warmth of spring returns.

Traditionally, autumn is also a time for lovers to visit the seashore or the mountains after the hubbub of summer has passed.  It’s a time to enjoy the peace and serenity of nature with one’s sweetheart and like the harvest, a time for considering the future of ones’ lives.

Aside from the wonders of nature, we senior citizens accept autumn’s bittersweet truths. Our children are all grown up and getting on with their own lives, and we reminisce over happy days gone by.  Simultaneously, the thought of a bitter cold winter is a lot less appealing than it was in our youth, and we wonder if we will see the passage of another spring.

Like the old Frank Sinatra song “The September of My Years,” the season reflects the world as we know it, while the promise of the future remains a mystery:

One day you turn around

and it’s summer.

The next day you turn around 

and it’s fall. 

And all the springs and summers 

of a lifetime: 

Whatever happened to them all? 

Old Blue Eyes’ song rings in my ears and heart at this time of year.  I find solace in this season of plenty even as I prepare for the winter of my life.



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2 Responses to “The Autumn of My Years”

  1. Karen says:

    I read this aloud to my husband and we both loved it through our tears. Its a wonderful version of reality, beautifully written. The author has the perception of a cup always half full and it is inspiring. And the voice of Frank came from my memory banks, words included.
    ps wouldn’t we love to have a glass of that long ago wine.!

  2. Kate says:

    that photo is just stunning and the song is just heart touching!

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