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Even if you’ve heard or read this story before, it’s still a great one:

Cecil B. DeMille (1881 – 1959), the famous Hollywood film director and producer, is the subject of many legends. According to one famous story, DeMille once directed a film that required a huge, expensive battle scene. Filming on location in a California valley, the director set up multiple cameras to capture the action from every angle. It was a sequence that could only be done once. When DeMille yelled “Action!,” thousands of extras playing soldiers stormed across the field, firing their guns. Riders on horseback galloped over the hills. Cannons fired, pyrotechnic explosives were blown up, and battle towers loaded with soldiers came toppling down. The whole sequence went off perfectly. At the end of the scene, DeMille yelled “Cut!” He was then informed, to his horror, that three of the four cameras recording the battle sequence had failed. In Camera #1, the film had broken. Camera #2 had missed shooting the sequence when a dirt clod was kicked into the lens by a horse’s hoof. Camera #3 had been destroyed when a battle tower had fallen on it. DeMille was at his wit’s end when he suddenly remembered that he still had Camera #4, which he had placed along with a cameraman on a nearby hill to get a long shot of the battle sequence. DeMille grabbed his megaphone and called up to the cameraman, “Did you get all that?” The cameraman on the hill waved and shouted back, “Ready when you are, C.B.!”.

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Even when I think I’m ready for it, the change of seasons almost always takes me by surprise.  Each comes and  goes before I’ve had the chance to take it all in, to enjoy it fully.  The poem’s title came to me after it was written, and I recalled the story. Each year it seems I’m caught standing ready for what has already gone by.  I hope you enjoy the poem and  the slide show of some of the colors that have graced us here in North Carolina, this Autumn of 2011.

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Ready when you are, C.B.!
© 2011 Paula Tohline Calhoun

The lamps were not yet lit,
But the curtains drawn across
The proscenium of the landscape,
Showed signs of activity backstage.

I had waited through the heat of summer for
Cooler air to settle down, cool rain to fall
And bring with it all the bolts
Of the new season’s fabric.

While heat waves still shimmered on the road
I purchased my ticket, took my place
On the grandstand, drumming my fingers
Tapping my foot, waiting waiting.

Even the patient ones sighed -
At last the curtains rose,
Footlights sparked on.
The gala opening of the season began.

Is it as bright as last year’s work?
“Much brighter”, was heard from some,
Others in the audience murmured contradictions -
“No, last year was more brilliant. Or
Was that the year before?”

How odd we cannot remember.
Year after year, we share photographs,
Commenting on the snapshots,
that “Never show the colors as they were.”

What I had waited so long for
Comes and goes too fast.
The latest styles walk the runway
Strike a pose, then step aside.

The Designer moves on to other projects,
before the show is finished.  Once done,
Winds do their clean-up work,
Wiping off the makeup of color
From the pale-faced models.

Swatches from the latest styles
Are gathered and burned.
There will be nothing left
But the photos we took to remind us,
But never prove,
If this was the loveliest season.

*****

May you all be blessed with the abundance of enough. . .
(wc 607)

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BY THE WAY:  READ MY REVIEW OF “WIRED” AND VOTE (FOR ME, OF COURSE!)!!!   PLEASE???  If you are having trouble at the voting site, please let me know – as Nancy did.  I am working on getting the situation fixed!  You can vote only once, but the “polls” are open until the end of the tour on or around October 25.  The sooner the better!  Thank you!

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