I am always leaving it seems, during the season I love the most. The dogs return with dew dampened coats and eagerly retreat to their beds near the stove while a timid dawn takes hold, its light seemingly refracted by the concentrate of aromas in the air. October moons are easily accessible in an October sky and I seldom have to exert much effort to find one, which I do frequently during this month. Before my departure I determine if the moon is waxing or waning and when it will be full, for a full moon in October, when I am away, carries with it a significance of memory and meaning.
It does not seem so terribly long ago in my life, yet to be fully honest with you nothing seems too terribly long ago in my life outside perhaps the early years of the Jurassic, when I looked upon a full moon in October and felt quite small and isolated but at once in conversation with those I missed and loved at that precise moment. I was on the Cangshan in Yunnan Province in a small encampment called Huadiamba when the full moon rose and painted the valley floor and mountainsides in platinum iridescence.
Though there are a billion stars in the sky that we might imagine those we love looking upon at precisely the same moment, and in that communal gaze a contentment that life is alright for just a moment, statistically speaking a full moon in October gets a profoundly larger number of hits than might any star–falling, first or really, really bright. And so it was that lonely night in October in Yunnan, and so it has been every October since, with a now more codified pact between gazer and gazee, that in spite of miles and oceans and dysfunctional internet connections, there will always be a full moon in October through which we can say our ‘goodnight and god bless’.
It is Sunday, October 9th, ……… the Lunation number is 1098, its age 12 days, 4 hr. 31 minutes and I am in western Guizhou Province. Our troupe, Scott McMahon, Ozzie Johnson and myself, are well-seasoned traveling companions so there is little apprehension as to the quality of the experience we will enjoy. The hardest part of the trail–that of interminable flights, missed connections and our bodily recalibrations–is behind us. What lies ahead for the three of us is the titillation of new territory, and the filtering, if not of an entirely new flora, then one with a decidedly different accent.
I will post as I can throughout this journey of a month’s duration. Already the snarls of technology have appeared and we are thusly even more remote. In the end I can always rely on the moon. It will be full in 4 days.