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Excerpted from the forward of the book, "The Code."

When the First Leaves Fall

                                                           Words & Music by Steve Gillette      

                                        (C) Copyright 2000, Compass Rose Music, BMI

There is a moment, when the dark spell of winter 

 Is broken by the promise of the spring

When we walk the mile woods in the first hours of the morning

And arrive with all the world awakening.


And I am nurtured by your presence, root and branch and blossom

And the soft rain shining in your hair

And when the first leaves fall,

No matter where you are, I want to be there.


There is a moment, in the high green summer

When the long, sweet days give way to shadow.

Where we lay together, beside the open window

And watch the fireflies like stars upon the meadow.


There's an unspoken wisdom in the motion of the trees,

Eternity stirring in the air

And when the first leaves fall,

No matter where you are, I want to be there. 


I want to be the one you turn to when the frost is on the fence posts

And the cold traveler moon stands alone.

When all that remains of the warm rains of summer

Is the mist on the millpond below.


Yours is the yearning that gives meaning to my own

In the silence when the wish becomes a prayer.

And when the first leaves fall,

No matter where you are, I want to be there.


If I could only say one thing, this song is what I would say.  It says just about everything that I would like you to know.  The rest of this work is just a longer, more elaborate explanation. 


Poets have always squirmed at the request to explain their poems, and it's true that if it's not in the poem, no amount of explanation can save the attempt.  On the other hand, most songwriters I know love to talk about songwriting, and love to bring the reader's (the listener's) attention to the finer points of their accomplished craft. 


In these pages I hope you will learn what brought us to this point, and what we've learned from the journey.  It's only a small piece of the greater puzzle, but it's my hope that it will resonate with the reader.  If the lyric above gives a hint of my personal philosophy on love and the ultimate issues, the pages that follow will expand on those themes. 


In all of this there is no message more central than that anyone who wants to can do what we have done.  It comes down to a willingness to show up and do what's needed.  I wish I could claim that I have done that in the most productive and straightforward way, but in these pages the reader will learn that what there is of that long sought for clarity has come quite late in the process.


As young people we are propelled by emotions, dreams, illusions and fears, not to mention hormones, and to some extent we are easily manipulated.  Finding a way to follow the bliss presents us with an odyssey.   We may have to let go of some of the things we desire in order to gain the greater prize.  I'm fond of saying I quit the music business to become a songwriter.   Glib as that may seem, it is easier to do meaningful work outside of the black hole of big-time show business. 


I'm also fond of saying, perversely (and rhetorically, of course) "If you're so smart, how come you're rich?" It takes courage to decline comfort and the illusion of security in favor of a more vital way of being.  Cindy and I have inched toward a simpler, more modest expectation of our footprints in the world.  We feel at home in New England and we have just about everything we need to be happy.


                                                       North Bennington, Vermont, Fall 2005




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