September 28, 2009 9:40:00 AM
Roger Truesdale - [email protected]
Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you see it?
I can -- fall.
My Blackberry sounded at 4:18 Tuesday afternoon. I set it several weeks ago to remind me that I could end my self-imposed summer hibernation and celebrate the autumnal equinox, the beginning of fall.
Summer and I don''t tolerate each other very well. In my old age I can''t take the 100-plus degree days. Furthermore, I am paying for those sun-baked days of my youth, before the miracle of having a shade tree that I could carry around in a bottle.
Fall is when I can throw open the doors and enjoy the cool, dry air.
A couple of years ago, my mama gave me one of the best gifts ever -- a flower garden right off my patio. It''s nothing fancy by "Home and Garden" or "Southern Living" standards, but it''s just right for me.
Fall is the best time of year for enjoying it. The plants have all matured; I can get up close and personal with my bees, toss something on the grill, enjoy an ice cold Miller Lite, play a little guitar and spend a quiet Saturday afternoon listening to Jack call a Bulldog game on the radio.
I don''t know if it''s the way the sun causes the shadows to fall, or how the sky is a shade bluer behind the high clouds, but something triggers my subconscious and I drift back to the sounds and the smells of the Delta.
It sounds weird, I know, but I truly go there.
Sometimes I smell the pungent odor of what folks around those parts called Black Annie, the black cloud sprayed over cotton fields by vintage bi-planes that prodded the plants to shed their leaves early so the sun could work its magic, opening the cotton bolls that turned the fields snow white.
A breeze might bring the haunting blues and gospel moans that I heard sung by long-sleeved clad plantation workers wearing huge straw hats, all bent over, working their way up and down the cotton rows filling the long sacks that trailed behind them with white gold.
A jet from the air base flying high overhead sometimes reminds me of the roar of the huge mechanical cotton pickers.
In the quiet of the early morning as I enjoy a hot cup of coffee, I can hear train horns blaring as they cross 14th. Each blast brings the hum of the gins that operated along the Illinois Central Railroad, interrupted only by a spew of steam as the cotton compress transformed a bale of cotton into a smaller one before being loaded onto a rail car.
My guess is that many of you fellow baby boomers have similar experiences, be it a season change like mine or something else that brings back memories so real you see, hear and feel them.
Of late I hear more and more stories of folks reconnecting with their past, whether it''s reunions, a detour through the old neighborhood, getting out the old photo album or, like me, letting the wind provide the show.
It''s really pretty cool.
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.