Autumn is an unthoughtful friend. Though it’s scheduled to arrive this Monday, the relentless sun ensures we’re still baking in late October, rendering us as overdone as a neglected apple pie on Thanksgiving. Autumn finally embraces us with cool weather just as Halloween passes by and the retail stores intensify our cravings for a snowy Christmas (which we know will actually be 70 degrees and sunny). I feel cheated, and yet, Autumn is my favorite season of all.
There’s always that first day of Autumn, the one you can’t pin on the calendar, when you step outside the door and drink in cool air and smell fallen pine needles for the first time in an age. On that day, I sympathize with Frodo Baggins at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. “You’re late,” I tell Autumn, mustering all the impatient angst I’ve been stewing in for months. Autumn remains unimpressed. Moments later, we’re both laughing as we reminisce about very old friends and anticipate new journeys together.
Autumn is sehnsucht in seasonal form. It aches deeper than mere nostalgia and yearns sharper than mere desire. It remembers all that we’ve lost and hunts for what we may harvest next. On the surface, Autumn may seem a melancholy character, yet just underneath its layer of fallen leaves is a well of hope that will never be quenched. It’s no wonder so many songwriters are drawn to the season’s complexities for inspiration.
As you go into this season of reflection, harvest, family, and change, may these songs provoke your thoughts and fill you with hope and comfort. And if Autumn hasn’t arrived just yet where you live, remember it will indeed arrive precisely when it means to.
Thanks to all who contributed to this Rabbit Room playlist: Janna Barber, John Barber, Ron Block, Shigé Clark, Matt Conner, Lanier Ivester, Jonny Jimison, Doug McKelvey, Drew Miller, Kelsey Miller, David Mitchel, Andrew Osenga, Jill Phillips, Jonathan Rogers, Ben Shive, Helena Sorensen, Annaleigh Thiessen, Janie Townsend, Jennifer Trafton, Hetty White, Chris Yokel, and Jen Yokel.