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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: November 8, 2010 Archive

Bill Morelock's Autumn Reflection

Posted at 3:10 PM on November 8, 2010 by Kei Terauchi Furukawa
Filed under: Musical philosophy, The blog

A shorter version of this gorgeous reflection on the season by Bill Morelock is in this week's e-newsletter coming out on Wednesday. Here's the full-length original. Enjoy!


All summer long, after midnight, Jupiter played tag with the moon. The latter, whimsical, would occasionally change the game to hide and seek, and disappear for days at a time.

It was a pleasant entertainment after evenings on the air. I felt less like a modern than an ancient devotee of Diana, noticing, affected by, even irritated at the moon's absconding. "The inconstant moon!" Bach preludes still echoed from hours earlier, or the strangeness of a medieval plainchant.

As I sat on clear nights and watched the show in a burgeoning, greening garden of corn and potatoes and beans, I was treated to a rare thought. The moon was personified, unreliable, and I missed it when it wasn't there. I'd slipped the noose of the impulse to accuracy. The need to be constrained by mechanics, the obligation to realize the moon is, after all, reliably unreliable.

This was an intimation of something ineffable. Yet, why could I feel my feet beneath me more solidly than at any time during the day? Music, the earth, the sky. All phenomena. All studies. But for a few moments I felt five thousand years old, when their magic was science. Not a place one can stay for long, but the impression, a truism, sticks: our Understanding, essential to our existence, has come at a price.

Now the potatoes are dug, the corn's in the freezer, and the black beans are soup or next year's seed. There's a gratitude for this beyond good compost and sufficient rain. And if this weather hangs on I might be able to to keep watch for the vagrant moon's return one more time. Maybe Rusalka, in her song, can bring it back the sooner.

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