Tuesday, September 15, 2015


 September Mists
my back yard yesterday morning

I saw old autumn in the misty morn
stand shadowless like silence, listening
to silence, for no lonely bird would sing
into his hollow ear from woods forlorn....

Thomas Hood

Some blog posts shouldn't be published and this is definitely one of them. I wrote it solely for myself. 

A melancholy mood, this early morning, when mountain mists filter the light of the rising sun - gently fusing with unexpected illusions of sunlight and bittersweet echoes of distant autumns.

The quote from Thomas Hood is one that I remember from my school days, when I was deliciously young and California autumns stirred the restlessness and romanticism in my uninitiated soul.

Somewhere in my collection of memorabilia, I have a letter written by Thomas Hood that I got at an auction. I've been meaning to frame it for years.

I've always loved autumn, for as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until this morning - while gazing out at the foggy back yard and drinking a cup of hot tea - that I suddenly realized the significance of autumn in my life. Many of the major events of my existence happened in the autumn.
I suppose I should mention my birth date, December 13. It seems much more like winter, but was in fact technically the end of autumn.

All of my autumnal memories have come rushing back at once, and in the crowded fervor it's difficult to put them into reasonable perspective. 

During my childhood in Southern California, autumn only existed in mild, tempered versions - usually marked by wildfires and magically potent Santa Ana desert winds. 

My maternal grandmother died in New Jersey when I was sixteen. It was mid-October and my parents and I drove back east for the funeral. I remember how breathtakingly glorious the autumnal scenery looked on that drive across country.

Only a few years later came the surrealistic autumn of eternal fires. Southern California was burning with dozens of wildfires. The small rural town where we lived at that time was completely surrounded by fire and there was no way out. My parent's perpetually turbulent marriage was in Crisis Mode, and my father was more violent than ever.

For some insane reason, after the fires died down, my parents decided to take a trip. I went with them only because I feared for my mother's physical safety. We went to the Grand Canyon and Utah, and I can't remember where else. This diversion restored my father's sanity. At least briefly.

These memories are worthless to anyone but myself, yet they are haunting my thoughts, demanding release.....

Then came the monumental autumn, the turning point. I was nineteen. It was September. My father - my mortal enemy - and I had one of our worst blowups ever. One of very many. He pulverized me, choked me into unconsciousness. No exaggeration - I was out like a light. I later got a gun and was going to kill him. I've written about this in previous posts; no need for rehashing details.

It took weeks for my physical wounds to heal. The mental wounds never heal - but I was very used to that. 
By early October (Oct. 3rd, to be exact) I took off for Hollywood, immersed myself in the intoxicating ecstasy of self-destruction.

My metamorphosis took place during those weeks in October. I was absorbed by the sheltering darkness of the midnight streets, stifling reality with booze and drugs, quenching the loneliness with unspeakably illicit pleasures.
My eternal reign of darkness began in that distant October and I savored it.

The following summer my Mother moved to Reno and filed for divorce.
In September I drove up there to stay with her for a few weeks. Another autumn, more poignant memories.
It was a rare respite without the threatening shadow of my father. We hiked, explored the mountains, scoured the shores of Lake Tahoe, visited Virginia City.....

My father, ever the thorn, found out where Mom was - drove up to Reno, begged her to come home. She foolishly acquiesced. 

I remember driving back to Los Angeles on a chilly October night, leaving the healing respite of the Nevada mountains, entering the smog-drenched purgatory of Hollywood.

I'm overstaying my welcome. I've said enough. But there are so many more memorable autumns......

Someone I loved very much was killed in the autumn.
Soon afterward, I left California for the final time in autumn, when I was 34.

Moved to the Missouri Ozarks in October.
Later moved to Texas in September.
After a dark eternity, I finally emerged from Texas and moved to Tennessee. In October.

Autumn, for whatever reason, has always been a very significant season in my life. I have no doubt that it holds a great future finality for me.......

I hear the echos of those distant autumns- - they haunt the present silence and solitude of misty September mornings.

New post on my photo blog, Unintentionally Gay




  1. I like autumn; cooler temps, pretty colors.

  2. I've no doubt these key memories are stirring your emotions. I appreciate that you're acknowledging them - unlike some who might repress any unpleasantness.
    Are you curious what happier autumnal events might lay in store? (or is it 'lie in store?' Sorry, I'm too lazy to go look it up!)

    December 13, hmm? :)

    1. Autumn: depression, death and near-death experiences. That's what Autumn Is for me.

  3. You've been in Tennessee almost a year? Doesn't seem possible. Enjoy your Autumn.

  4. Just as the leaves will turn, so will our lives change

  5. Jon,
    It always breaks my heart when I read of how cruel your father was to your and your mother. That you survived such horrific circumstances growing up is a testament to your character. I am so glad you survived, albeit with probably permanent mental scars and that you are a friend to all of us who faithfully read your blog and share your life with you. You are a most generous person Jon.
    Autumn is always a time of melancholy for me too. Probably because my birthday is in November, it is also a favorite time of year for me, my beginning. I love the arrival of the cold, brisk air and the changing of the leaves. You are in a part of the country where you can take maximum benefit of the fall colors.
    There is yet another change coming into your life. You will meet someone and your life will take on a renewed beginning. This I know Jon. Another, wonderful and fabulous chapter of your life is about to begin. I am very excited for you.

  6. Such a stirring post. It's interesting how certain times of the year can evoke strong feelings within us. For me, it's the month of March. Lots of things, both good and bad, happened to me in the Marches of my life.

    I hope Ron is right. I hope you're about to enter an exciting and hopeful chapter of your life. You deserve it.


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