La tristeza del otoño

The leaves are falling on the Plaza Grande in Pátzcuaro, so autumn has arrived again.

Sitting alone on a bench, I watch a raggedy man sweeping the plaza with a massive palm frond.  Passing on the sidewalk is a 15-foot-high clown, a fellow on stilts with a sad face — his own — juggling for pesos.

There are lots of tourists today, families, children, and most appear happy. How not?

However, autumn to many is a mood piece, and the mood is not a chipper one. Sadness instead. The carefree days of summer are over. The chill of winter looms. Autumn, being the bridge, oppresses the heart for many.

Sadness is no stranger to Mexico.

Much of what passes as local color, jugglers and fire-eaters at intersections, clowns, folks dancing in Indian attire, old ladies sitting on the sidewalk selling, actually are needy people doing what they can to put tortillas on the table.

Tourists come and go, loving the local color, rarely seeing the sadness . . .

. . . la tristeza del otoño.

The falling leaves drift by the window,
The autumn leaves of red and gold.
I see your lips, the summer kisses,
The sun-burned hands I used to hold.
— Johnny Mercer.
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