Unexpected sunlight brought dappling to the damp lawns this afternoon. The clouds withdrew to shade the mountains and valley while we basked in a bowl of light surrounded by fluffy white ramparts. Wet pavements and strewn leaves glistened, and the red and yellow foliage of maples, dogwoods and other exotic trees kindled brightly amid the reaches of native green pines and brown oaks. Blue sky remained until dusk approached and the crowding clouds, some flushing pink or lavender and others turned gray or steely dark blue, began reclaiming the ethereal territory they'd abandoned a few hours before. Night now presents an occluded sky in which rare stars briefly appear and then wink out, the only visible evidence of the turbulence prevailing in the upper air. Here below it is still and quiet, and no rain is falling. The damp pavement clicks softly under my footsteps as I walk to the end of the driveway. I might be anywhere, I might be nowhere. Suddenly I hear the hooting of an owl, and the concealed landscape is defined.