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Ten years ago, I was watching Austin City Limits when an orchestra and choir wearing technicolored choir robes took the stage. Their vocal arrangement was tight, the instrumentation precise, their dancing boisterous. As they played, they jumped and spun and danced and were in every manner of speaking foolish. It was the most beautiful foolishness.
They were the Polyphonic Spree, and they continued their full-bodies performance, singing “just follow the seasons and buy the time; reach for the bright side. … Just follow the day and reach for the sun.”
It was an invitation.
Every year about this time, I sink into a sort of quiet melancholy. It’s not the sort of melancholy that lands me in the bed for days on end or in the therapist’s office. In fact, it’s not a particularly unhealthy melancholy. It’s more of a realization that I’m little more than breathing dust, that I’m more shadow than gold (though I might like you to think otherwise), that I’m the incarnation of Solomon’s wisdom. It’s the sort of melancholy that might be concerning if it weren’t so damned cyclical, and though I’ve tried to push it down for most of my life, I don’t feel the need anymore. I’m honest with it. It’s part of the process of living.
This morning, I woke with the sense that the melancholy might be moving on. I sat with the scriptures, read about dying to live, about the process of reaching toward the true sun (the sun that gives light to everything). And meditating on those scriptures, that old Polyphonic Spree tune came to mind.
“Follow the day and reach for the sun.”
Outside, the sun climbed over the horizon and I saw an oak falling into its own autumnal melancholy. It’s shadow spread across the yard, but it wasn’t all shadow. In the canopy, the leaves were beginning to turn. They were gold, reaching from the shadows and up to the sun.