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The Cover of October Skies

Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
‘Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
You know I’m tryin’ to please to the calling
Of your heartstrings that play soft and low
You know the night’s magic seems to whisper and hush
You know the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush
Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love?

— Van Morrison, Moondance

It’s no coincidence that we are drawn outdoors in October. In New Hampshire, the foliage is strikingly beautiful on some trees this year, while others have barely begun to turn. Strange what a year of near-constant rain can do to a tree’s inclination to dress up for the party. But the show must go on nonetheless, stragglers will inevitably catch up in their time. For it’s all about the shrinking days now. If leaves are the flowers of autumn, then they’re more like the blossoms of a fruit tree, announcing their time in the sun is over with a brilliant dance in the breeze on their return to the earth. Don’t we owe it to them to bear witness?

I dwell in such things. I have a photographers eye and a philosopher’s mind, and though perhaps neither may ever be fully realized in production each sneaks out now and again. We each aspire to mastery, don’t we? Mostly I hear the call to bring the beautiful to light. It falls on people like us to keep reminding the world that it’s worth paying attention to the magic now and then in our own shrinking days.

To reach our potential we must be attentive to every detail, and we must put ourselves in the mix. On a crisp Sunday afternoon I spent time at a four-year-old’s birthday party, gingerly holding her infant second cousin like a football, to celebrate the next generation tasked with realizing a brighter future. I spent time at a quiet graveyard, reminding those who couldn’t quite realize a full life of their own that they aren’t forgotten. That they did enough. The two sides of the spectrum dancing under the cover of the same brilliant October sky. Some leaves shine golden in their time, some have arrived back to earth. We are the witnesses to each, biding our time on a quest for mastery.

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