Who better to bid summer adieu than Patti Smith? Last weekend in Greenwich Village, the iconic singer-songwriter kicked off her three-nights-only memoir-performance, Words and Music, by reading Rainer Maria Rilke’s Autumn Day. It’s a beautiful, melancholic poem — made even more so, I imagine, in Smith’s hands. Reading it now, I long to do as the poet says and “stay up, read, write long letters, and wander the avenues, up and down, restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.” (Alas, my life is full with work and a busy six-year-old, so I’ll settle for a brisk walk around the block).
While I’m sad to say goodbye to summer, a big part of me always revels in the feeling of new beginnings that comes with the changing season. Autumn is my New Year’s Eve — a fresh start, but without all the disappointments that inevitably follow a year’s worth of publicly proclaimed resolutions.
Fall’s expectations are deeper and more nuanced; it’s an entire season of permission to pick up projects, and maybe even friendships, that were sidelined when summer blew in to distract us. We can start over with impunity, find focus in shorter days, take pleasure in slowing down, talking less, staying longer, and acting with intention.
At least, that’s where my head is at. I’ll start by making a cup of tea and listening to Patti Smith’s Horses all the way through.
Cheers to fresh starts,
Danielle and Wade