Performer: Robbie Robertson
Songwriters: Robbie Robertson, Douglas Spotted Eagle
Original Release: Music for The Native Americans
Definitive Version: None
Some songs take you back to a specific time, and this is one of them for me. Granted, I’ve been writing about specific events with all of these songs, but with this song, not only do I have memories of what I did when I hear it, but I also conjure specific smells, tastes, temperatures. It’s as if I’m there again. This song is about the fall of 1994 and very specifically October—leaves turning, wood fires, a chill in the evening air.
In mid-October, Debbie and I went to Indiana for a weekend getaway. We went to Muncie to hang out with Scott and then head down to Brown County for some walking in the woods and shopping.
My recollection is that we spent two nights in Indiana—one at Scott’s and another down in Brown County, but that could’ve happened only if I took Friday and Saturday off, which, I suppose is possible. More likely, we just spent one night.
Whatever, it was a perfect fall day when we got to Brown County. By perfect, I mean that it was gray with just a hint of misty rain and not too cold but not warm either—jacket weather. I had just bought this red hunters jacket that hung down loosely almost to my knees and was warm. I loved that jacket. Debbie was big into photography, so she brought her camera, and my red jacket is in every picture.
On the drive in to Brown County State Park, we came upon the Bean Blossom covered bridge, which was built in 1880 as the sign over the entryway said. Like so many others had, I carved our initials into a beam on the inside. We reached the state park at the peak of fall season. The trees were spectacular, and we spent most of the day hiking around the woods. I collected a couple of particularly brilliant red leaves for Debbie.
We wrapped up the day by touring Nashville, which is an antiquer’s delight near the entrance of the state park. The funny thing is I remember little about this part of the trip. The one thing I do remember? One store had a full set of Tinkertoys in the original can. I had Tinkertoys when I was a kid, and kind of wanted them again at that moment. But at $20, I didn’t want them enough to pull the trigger. I didn’t regret it, but I also haven’t forgotten it either.
Anyway, we drove home to Columbus from there as night began to descend, making one stop along the way to buy a pumpkin to carve later that week. Halloween was coming after all.