Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel…never ending all beginning….when you knew that it was over you were suddenly aware….that the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair…..the words to that song, or some version of the lyrics have been going through my head for the past couple of days. They’re from a song called “The Windmills Of Your Mind” by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Michel Legrand, from back in 1968 when it was written for the movie, The Thomas Crown Affair.
Now I have to admit, I have the words messed up a bit, but we’ll get to that…..As I mentioned, that song has been going through my head of late, as it often does, especially in the fall of the year. For me the year was 1975 when I first heard it, or noticed it, on an old record album of greatest hits. I found it among other old long playing records, or “LP’s” as we called them back then, a collection belonging I assume, to my parents, but I am not sure. They were at the cottage, and we played them on an old turntable that we called, a “record player” the same way we now call today’s “CD Players” and “MP3 Players.”
What I do remember is the words, and the melody of the song, and the feeling it invokes in me, in the autumn, when the leaves begin to fall, and things change. For me, the thing changing in 1975 was having to leave the cottage, head back to the city and another year of high school.
The problem was, it meant I also had to leave behind my “summer love” a girl from a nearby cottage who I was….well….I was crazy about her….Unfortunately, we didn’t live close to each other in the winters, so our love, was for the most part, a “summer love” and it was short, but so sweet…..and ended early fall each year, with a broken heart.
To be honest, in hindsight, I think she was quite happy with the arrangement, ending it in the fall when she returned to school….but in my memory, I prefer not to think of it that way, ha ha….
I still recall with fondness those days at “the camp” as we all called our summer cottages. (and still do) Endless days and endless nights, swimming, boating, exploring the surrounding woods, fishing, and….at night a campfire and the fascination of watching shooting stars streak across the night sky. And of course…the highlight of each of those summer nights in 1975 and for that matter 1976 and for that matter 1977….was the oh so romantic “goodnight kiss” often under the stars, on the shore of the lake, when in the quiet stillness of the summer night I swear you could hear my heart beating…..
Ahh…..those were the days…..unrequited young love…..and……then suddenly, like the words to the song, you knew that it was over, as the summer days grew shorter and the autumn leaves started turning to the color of her hair…..
Somehow I got that song in my head back then, and it has stuck with me to this day, albeit not all the lyrics, but most of them. Apparently there is somewhat of a scientific reason for that, according to an entry about it I found on Wilkipedia that says,
“The song illustrates a person’s mental state after a romantic break-up, relating the way emotionally charged thoughts and memories can run in tortured circles. With its succession of similes (“Like a circle in a spiral/Like a wheel within a wheel”), hypnotic rhythms and complex imagery, it is a song that can “stick in your head.” The lyrics even refer to this phenomenon: in among a collection of disjointed memories is “a fragment of a song,” in the 1968 recording, and “a fragment of this song,” in the 1999 recording.
In my mind’s eye, I am a boy with a girl, enjoying the feelings of what were, or seemed like they were, carefree, endless summer days, first love, and much happiness that suddenly ended, with the falling leaves……It’s over 30 years since I first heard The Windmills of Your Mind, 37 years to be exact, but every year around this time, with the scent of wet autumn leaves underfoot, I am mysteriously reminded of that song, a girl and a boy, and I am transported back to a time that seems oh so long ago……
Well….among others, including Dusty Springfield, Sting recorded this song, and I think does a great job on it. So sit back, enjoy, but be prepared, it’s likely gonna stick in your head….in the Windmills of Your Mind…..
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