Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn Memories

The advent of Autumn always puts me in a mellow mood. I have loved this time of the year for the great memories it returns to me year after year.

In my early teen years I attended Woodstock School in the foothills of the Himalayas.  Fall was the season for hiking the nearby mountains and valleys and enjoying treks over to Mussoorie without the fear of being inundated by rain. It was also a melancholy time as the Fall Line foretold Going Down Day and separation from our classmates and friends. It was around this time that I became acquainted with the popular“September Song”

Marriage and the birth of two daughters found us living in Roanoke, Virginia. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through Roanoke and our family spent some great Fall weekends  as a family driving down to the Peaks of Otter and climbing to the top of Sharp Top mountain. It is one of Virginia’s treasure’s especially in autumn. After the girls left home for college and marriage Lib and I enjoyed some trips to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a mountain city resort area resembling Mussoorie. The tall pines and cedars at the 4000 foot altitude were uncannily similar to those adorning the Himalayan foothills.

Then a request to play for dinner at the Greenbrier resort hotel began a new sideline  which would add to my Fall memories. The back country road Va.#311 from Salem to near White Sulphur Springs has to be one of the finest drives when the leaves are at their peak. The road runs over two mountains and the view from near the summit of Pott’s mountain when the sun is low on the horizon is a sight to behold. Over on the West Va. side of the trip the road winds through miles of valley scenery of farms and homes nestled among tall oak and maples.Then #311 junctions with I-64 and shortly one is arriving at the Greenbrier.

I performed on a fairly regular basis at the Greenbrier for nearly 20 years and always enjoyed being there in the autumn. There would be a fire in the huge main entry hallway. My accompanist and I would play for tea, go to supper in the basement where all the supporting people ate, and then play for three hours in one of the many dining rooms. Our diners always appeared  happier and more jovial during this season. And for whatever reason my violin seemed more resonant matching their mood. Then we moved to Richmond, Va.

Last year Lib and I celebrated this time of the year with a bus tour to New England. It was a little earlier than the present blog and rainy weather made some of it rather dreary. However, there were some really fine days especially toward the last when we were in the northern Vermont mountains. One afternoon in particular we were at the summit of a ski resort and could almost see over into Canada. The air was crisp and the vista stretched forever, a beautiful unforgettable panoply of low mountains one after the other in scarlets and russets.

This year we haven’t trekked anywhere. Some health issues await a procedure to eliminate the pain from walking and movement for Lib. Instead when I see a beautiful tree in all its flaming glory it will remind me of days past in this wonderful season of the year.


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