Saturday, November 21, 2009

Moondancing and giving thanks

I took this photograph earlier this month as I was staying at work later than usual. I was attending the induction ceremony for the new National Honor Society students from our high school that evening. Daylight savings time had just "fallen back" and the late fall day had been clear and warm. Seeing this spectacular moonrise, I drove to a nearby overlook behind the high school for a better view. It was so beautiful that I lingered there for quite a while, quietly breathing in the cooling Adirondack air.

For the NHS ceremony this year, the list of new inductees included two of my former students. As a special education teacher, this is not something that I get to see very often. Both boys have worked hard to overcome their very different learning challenges and their induction was indeed a wonderful moment to witness.

I have tucked that evening into my list of blessings to be thankful for this year. With the full moon rising over the lake and mountains, watching the proud faces of my former students and their parents, in that moment the world felt full of promise and beauty.

Turn back the calendar to August 2008 and here is another moonrise I photographed. The setting was San Gimignano, Italy, a medieval hill town in the Tuscan countryside. The HH* and I were visiting and vacationing with our daughter, an army specialist, who was stationed in Italy at that time.

Since then, our Molls has completed a deployment in Afghanistan. She is, as I write now, briefly back in Italy but will very soon be returning to the US. Her safe return from a war zone is quite high on my list of blessings for which I am giving thanks this year. But I will also give thanks for this special memory, for this magical night a year and some ago, as we stood together in the stony plaza of a medieval hill town, watching an eclipse of the moon over an ancient landscape.

Our son-in-law phoned last night to say our Molls is due home on December 2. That just happens to be the night of the next full moon. That will be, in the words of Van Morrison, a marvelous night for a moondance.

For all of the fresh young faces in my life: for my own three grown children, for my daughter-in-law and my son-in-law, for grandchildren Margie Moo and 'Lexi Loo, for our nieces and nephews and their beautiful children, for the students I have been lucky to know and grow with, and for the HH who shares it all with me, I give many, many thanks.

*HH = Handsome Husband