January 23rd, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window


I fell asleep on the couch again. My neck is now displeased with me, because it got twisted around the wrong way. That would be alright if I were possessed, but I'm not, and my neck should be kept straight. Now I'm dizzy. I left the heater vent open, too, and the inside of my head is therefore quite dessicated. Very uncomfortable.

It has been so cold that little clumps of hailstones from the storm two nights ago have survived two days of bright sunshine. The real winter has at last arrived. It will probably hang around for quite a while. But I'm too busy to pay much attention to the cold, this year. I just keep layering on the extra clothes and squinting at the bright sun.
caillebotte_man at his window


Going for a walk under the gibbous day-moon helped straighten out the kinks in my neck, and made my ears and the tip of my nose numb, so that they tingled when I came back into the warm house. As long as I have lived here, I have never become fully accustomed to the winter cold. I am less uncomfortable than I was for the first few years, but, this time of year, I really miss the southern California climate. Still, while the air is a bit chilly for me, I must say that I love the winter light in the mountains.

I think it was John Muir who said that the Sierra Nevada ought to have been called the Range of Light rather than the Snowy Range. He must have been thinking of this brilliant winter sunlight, and the way it is reflected by the pines. The ponderosas in particular have very shiny needles, and, when the sun hits them just right, they glitter almost as brightly as glass. It is that, even more than the chill in the air, that makes this season seem so sharp and brittle here, as though the scene before my eyes might shatter at any moment. The strength of the underlying stone is no match for the delicacy of the winter day.