It was the theme for my son’s fourth-grade graduation ceremony. Funny that I should remember it so clearly. My son is turning 50 in a few weeks and I’ve forgotten a lot, but this I remember. And I remember that I cried.
Les Feuilles Mortes
The falling leaves
Drift by the window
The autumn leaves
Of red and gold
I see your lips
The summer kisses
The sunburned hands
I used to hold
Since you went away
The days grow long
And soon I’ll hear
Old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all
When autumn leaves
Start to fall.
Notes: Roger Williams had a number 1 hit with the instrumental version in 1955. Above he is playing in 2010 on his 86th birthday.
Andy Williams (no relation) appeared with Jose Feliciano in 1969. He first recorded the song in 1959.
Yves Montand introduced the song in 1945 in the movie “Les Portes des la nuit.” Above is from a 1951 movie “Parigi è sempre Parigi.”
Songwriters: Jacques Prevert (music) / Joseph Kosma (lyrics) / Johnny Mercer (English Lyrics)
You’ll just have to live with the religious elements of the song because that’s the way it was written. So if we are going to have a song today, let’s make it about this world we love in the hopes that maybe we can keep it “bright and beautiful.”
It is my highest hope and my fondest wish.
If there is one season we have more than enough of here in New England, it’s winter. It depends on the year, of course, Not all winters are created equal. Usually, we are buried under ice and snow from late November to early April. But there are exceptions.
Every once in a while, we have a mild winter. We had one a few winters ago where there was nothing more than a dusting of snow for the winter … and then we had a drought in the spring because there was no melt-off to fill the rivers, aquifers, and lakes. Still, I was personally grateful for the break.
Last year was horrendous. It was not the coldest winter I can remember, nor the snowiest, but it had the most ice. And bitter weather when you most needed a thaw to reduce the weight of snow on roofs, to make roads and walkways passable.
Fortunately, spring was not accompanied, as it often is, by torrential rains so we avoided the annual flooding of everyone’s basement in all the valley’s towns.
Yet winter is magnificent. When that first layer of white comes down from the skies and wraps the world in its soft blanket, it’s hard not to hear music and poetry in your head. If only it weren’t so bitter … or last so long.
How about we strike a deal? One month of winter … say January? Start right after the New Year then melt in time for Valentine’s Day. That would be more than sufficient.