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TRY TO REMEMBER, AND FOLLOW
September 29, 2009
 
How beautiful it all was, driving through the Sonoma wine country this past weekend. Like Italy, with vineyards everywhere -- though these vineyards were vast, and the Italian ones are smaller. I saw rows of columnar cypress trees here and there, too, though not so many as we have in Italy. There were other wonderful trees, big ones, trees they don't have there. And hummingbirds, which the Italians also don't have.

So many lovely things I see here make me think of beauty there. Not that I always compare the two and find my current surroundings wanting, but I seem always to be reminded of something. People, too -- In one church, I saw a photo of a young man serving at the altar who looked just like Tom. I saw another young man who looked like Stefano.

I wonder how long this will continue, how long I will pass what I experience every day through the filter of my life there. Long after people have stopped asking me if I'm glad to be back, I guess. Or if I miss Italy. Yes, I say. Yes.

How's your new place, I asked Lisa. She moved out to California while I was away, and we hadn't seen each other in a year. Oh, it's fine, she said. We like it a lot. But she had just published an article about life in our town here, a sweet piece, tender and a little wistful.

Well, it's a wistful time of year anyway, I guess. You can't miss fact of time's passing in the autumn, no matter how suspended you may have been in the timeless heat of the high summer days: the leaves, the weather, the different sort of rain now, the pumpkins at the vegetable stands. Children who are pretty much as you once were trudge along to school in front of your house every morning, walking more briskly back the other way every afternoon. You add up the decades since you really were their age, and dismiss the total as unlikely. You never were that good at math, you think. Probably you added wrong.

But as long as it's been, and as readily as a bittersweet blanket of nostalgia settles over you in September, your blood cannot help but quicken a bit. You remember how much you like the zaniness of Halloween. The more explictly religious holidays are coming, your favorite ones -- if you're Jewish or Muslim, they already have. You remember how much you like the cooking, the planning, the delight of being inside when it is cold outside. You get up and rearrange a drawer, and think that you might make something in the crock pot for tonight.

Every season is wonderful in its own way. Every season, and every place. The years are short, and the change of seasons always bittersweet. Here it comes again.
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Try To Remember

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

[Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.]

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

[Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.]

Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December, our hearts should remember
And follow.
--Music by Harvey Schmidy
Lyrics by Tom Jones
1960
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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