“autumn serenade” – john coltrane and johnny hartman (1963)


I deeply cherish the transitional seasons.  Spring is an awakening for me.  After a long, cold Chicago winter, I am filled to the brim with life and energy.  I have to get out and do everything.  Exploration is on my mind and I’m an active whirlwind swimming in warm sunshine.  The brilliance of it makes me feel so young.

Fall, on the other hand, makes me sleepy and a bit weary in a welcomed way.  After an active summer of outdoor sports, travel, and social engagements, autumn is nature’s signal for me to start slowing down.  Winter is on the horizon and I’ll need to use that time to refresh.  Until then, autumn is my needed motivation to stop and look around at the beauty and mortality of all things.

The colors, the smell, and the chill are all things I adore about the season.  When spring arrives, I look around and am energized by all the things I can do now that it is warm. With autumn, I find comfort that things need to wind down.  Not just for the sake of energy expenditure, but to appreciate its return after winter.

A lot of my friends hate the fall because of what it represents.  To them it means that winter is almost here, and they’ll be miserable.  So, they don’t celebrate fall because of it’s the season in between winter and summer.

Part of that makes sense to me.  Winter, in that sense, almost signifies a sense of death.  However, that is life.  Embrace it and perhaps you’ll find it isn’t all the bad.

The start of my autumn has unusually busy.  It almost feels as my hectic schedule and need to do things from the summer has delayed a true autumnal experience for me.  I’ve been working a personal project that has really been eating up my time (in a good way).  But I’ve been aware of how little time I’ve had to enjoy the colors changing.  The experience I feel I’m supposed to receive of winding down just hasn’t happened yet.  But, that’s life.

John Coltrane is excellent to listen to this time of year.  I’m very partial to the record he released with Johnny Hartman.  Released on Impulse! in 1963, John Coltrane And Johnny Hartman is a jazzy match made in heaven.  Coltrane plays his sax supremely while Hartman lends his iconic vocals to the album’s six tracks.

Closing out the record is “Autumn Serenade,” their tribute to quite possibly the greatest of seasons.  Over the sweet saxophone, Hartman sings a sad ode to the wind coming three the trees which make the sweetest melodies.  Warmed by kisses, those beautiful souvenirs, we hold onto the true comforting value of life’s little gifts.