My sister said the other night that she was feeling a bit low, and attributed the feeling to “the changing seasons.”
I commiserated, saying I too felt a certain sadness this time of year, what with everything that had once been green and flourishing falling into the sere, the yellow leaf. And then, adding to the atmospherics, I began to hum a few bars of “Autumn Leaves.”
When I hung up, I found that Mary was not of the same mind. Winter, she said, was the sad time for her. “To the contrary,” I said, “I find winter energizing because you’re often contending with it — digging out from snowfalls, bringing in firewood, drinking schnapps . . . that sort of thing.”
The next day, Jane Callan, who makes our windows at The Star look like the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, set me straight. “It’s a time when they’re gathering strength,” she said of the plants and the flowers and trees, “so that they’ll come back even stronger and bigger than they were before.” That, she said, was why she loved the fall.
I couldn’t argue with that. “It reminds me of the Italian guy I read about who said when he was asked if he believed in an afterlife that there might well be a resurrection of sorts, just like the plants. I better phone Christy and tell her what you said.”
“And maybe you shouldn’t hum ‘Autumn Leaves.’ ”
“Nor ‘September Song,’ ” I said. “The ice cream truck song would be better. It’s stuck in my mind ever since the guy began coming around our neighborhood this summer: ‘Do your ears hang low?/Do they wobble to and fro?/Can you tie them in a knot?/Can you tie them in a bow?’ ”
Revival, if not resurrection, is often on my mind when I try to coax interlocutors from their doldrums with jokes.
And it occurred to me at about 3 a.m. today that in each week of my sportswriting life I undergo a cycle of germination, budding, flourishing (as in “See, Mary. . . ? See what I wrote this week. . . ?”) and death (yellowed columns taped to the walls of my office, columns I’d once thought lively, if not profound, attest to it).
In my case the seasons change every week. Spring begins it, building to sultry summer, in the form of overheated prose, segueing through wistful fall (“Did I forget to put that in. . . ? Did I misspell her name. . . ? It’s taken a long, long time to get to that story. . . .”) and on, inevitably, to winter (the printer).
And every Thursday, at around midday, I am reborn!
Though frequently forceps have to be used.