The particulars of Van's moontime meditations and mine are slightly different.  He walks his dog Hambone down dirt roads and looks up into a dark country sky.  I walk with Clarabelle, my cat, through the asphalted parking lots of commerical real estate, peering up to find only the brightest stars making their way past the light pollution.  Still we both have the same reaction when we see that slice of a waning crescent moon hanging low in the east -- a rill of excitement, a feeling of privilege.  To me, getting a glimpse of the old moon on the last day of her monthly journey reminds me to prepare myself for the new moon, one of the most propitious times for setting intentions.

I write captions for the Starry Night prints, and I wonder what customers feel when their print arrives and there's no moon in the sky. Do they know there's a special magic afoot when a baby is born under these stars or a marriage is begun?  I do my best to convey the sense of the occasion, Chris Mendola's poetic graphics re-create the scene, and Charles Peale complements everything with his skilled framing.  I love seeing how the stars and horizons come together on the finished products.  New moon or full, the images are breathtaking.

A fierce rain storm swept through last night, but this morning at 5:30, the clouds were just breaking.  Walking with Clarabelle, I looked up and saw that 4% crescent moon rising east and felt that familiar thrill of appreciation.  Just what I needed too:  today is the unofficial beginning to the most hectic times of the year.  Some years I've cooked Thanksgiving dinner for others, entailing endless grocery store errands or long distance travel.  I've certainly enjoyed those moments of togetherness, regardless of the stress.  But my favorite tradition for Thanksgiving is not traveling.  The times when I've found myself at peace on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, I've made an occasion of conscious porch sitting, my way of giving thanks for not being stuck in traffic or crowded grocery stores.  Sighting the moon this morning reminds me to look forward to my afternoon downtime as well as to count the other blessings that have fallen to me this year.  Working with a fantastic group of funny, smart, and kind men to create a fine product that meaningfullly reflects the most important nights in people's lives tops what is a long list.  I hope you all have similar moments of thankfulness this holiday.