April, come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
May, she will stay
Resting in my arms again
June, she’ll change her tune
In restless walks, she’ll prowl the night
July, she will fly
And give no warning of her flight
August, die she must
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
September, I’ll remember
A love once new has now grown old
© 1965 Words and Music by Paul Simon
Do you ever get bothered that most of what we read or sing or hear about autumn, the terms are from the Northern hemisphere? I want to sing, today “Autumn, die she must. The April winds blew chilly and cold. May, I’ll remember! A grief once raw, has now become gold.” It doesn’t quite scan, does it? Or rhyme.
It does express something of my feelings though; The memory of holding my Mum in my arms, morning by morning, before she died last May, is becoming a warm place to visit. There is gladness that she is all free, and joy that our love was expressed then and in flow now. There is still the shock that I feel every early autumn – gosh, the leaves are turning already, what happened to summer! Gosh, Mum isn’t there to show these photos to, what happened?
A year later I also feel Ooh! Yay! What a treasure-filled time that was! I am sorry for the times I was abrupt, or irritated, in a different space, but at peace with that too. It was just real, and reality never scared Mum.
As she got older, she chose more and more to look reality in the face, and to find ways to love that encountered the experience of others, to live with the grit in her shoe.
That’s the second thing this song reminds me of – the respect for the reality of another. It can only be guessed at. When those we love see us through a lens they’ve generated about us, or a story they’ve come to believe about us, it hurts. It is frightening and alienating. When Europe believes it knows what’s best for Africa, or I believe I know what’s best for my adult children, we are avoiding the reality of powerlessness, the pain of letting go, the anxiety of having to sit back and trust. Or the vulnerability of asking – am I understanding accurately? Help me understand better? What do you want me to understand about you?
Does this ring a bell? Is there someone you wish would clear out their picture of you and ask you yourself to fill it in? You are the only expert on you, we know! Is there anyone around you who may be longing for you to see their story a little more clearly, have their self-expertise valued a little more highly?
My views, about me and my world can only be my truth. I am very interested in yours too. With respect and joy and curiosity and grace, I hope we can enter each other’s hemispheres, each other’s worlds, and receive the gifts of love renewed.