The girl with the melancholy smile: an ode to autumn

Autumn is beautiful, and mysterious. Autumn knows how to wear her clothes; earthy colours, and bright too, all held in balance, and slightly bohemian. She’s cool.

The perfume she’s wearing is heady; earth, leaves, rain, and wood smoke. She has an interesting taste in books; a bit of Edgar Allen Poe’s mystery and imagination, maybe some Ray Bradbury too with his Hallowe’en Tree and his October People.

She listens to Debussy, Fauré, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Billie Holiday, Morphine, Kings of Convenience. She plays the cello.

In the daytime, the light makes everything look dream-like, and it often feels as if one is walking around inside of a work of art, or a story, the ending of which escapes us. She smiles, and there is melancholy to be found there that makes the smile all the more meaningful.

The sun descends, disappearing into the West; it’s cool and crisp. We wear our light jackets. The fallen leaves crunch under our shoes like minute skeletons.

When it gets dark, it happens suddenly; the lights on the street corners come on like beacons, the headlights of cars beam through the gloom. Windows are painted with the faint, warm glow of orange and yellow. Some are dark, blind, and stare out balefully onto quiet streets. And our imaginations race.

Autumn makes the walls between the worlds to be at their thinnest. You can hear the stories bleeding through. When you do, it’s a time of child-like wonder, and small echoes of exhilarating fear. It’s the time of dressing up in sombre clothes, in bright ones too. It’s time to walk around in another skin.

Her time is the time of year we’re surrounded by evidence of mortality. Yet, the power to truly terrorize us is diminished. We imagine Gothic castles and mist-haunted moors instead. It’s the time of spirits, and of human skulls on doors. The fear of mystery is transformed into dark wonderment.

Moody Park At Night

When Autumn’s time is over, cloaks of snow, sleet, and rain cover the carpets of fallen leaves. Rivers run down the streets, carrying the remnants of summers past away as winter’s clouds swell and burst. The girl with the melancholy smile takes her leave with frosted kisses on our cheeks.

If we miss her, we can find in her in the pages of poetry, in the brushstrokes of paintings, between the bars of music.

We find her in vague and treasured memories, in the whispers of tales that are only half-told, lit by twilight sun.

That’s where she lives.


5 Songs About Autumn

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