I spent time with an old memory last week. As I drove to my cabin in West Virginia, my mind and my heart got a thrill when I noticed there was a harvest moon shining. As I exited my truck just before dawn, the thoughts of my youth came flowing over me, like the light from a candle that is sitting in a window.
Just looking at the candle gives one a sense of warmth and of a feeling of security. My mind went back to August of 1962, probably the first harvest moon that I really paid any attention to. My Dad woke me up to get ready for the hunt that morning on my uncle’s farm in Wolfe County. As I walked outside it was as if we had overslept, but it wasn’t the sun shining. It was the moon.
Dad told me the squirrels cut all night. I thought surely he was jesting. Dad said no need for a flashlight. He told me what part of the farm he was hunting and told me to get going in the other direction. I looked at the clock, an old windup alarm clock that was there as long as I could remember. It was only a little past 5 a.m., and I wondered why we would leave so early. But Dad got his Browning, and off he went and so I went in the other direction with plans to just find an old slick-bark hickory and wait until daylight.
As I approached the hickory, well before daylight, I could see the limbs heavy with the weight of squirrels going up and down. Soon I could hear the sounds of cutting as they ate their breakfast. Last week as I stood on one of the highest points of the farm staring at the moon I took time to reflect back on my first. I knew now just as then that when dawn broke I had just spent time with a memory and that time has passed much too soon.
As I took that first step into the quiet woods I knew that I was at peace with myself, just as I was with my Dad in 1962.