January 31st, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

FUN WITH SUGAR

Put a marshmallow in your microwave oven. It will get large. Some of them will swell up to the size of a tennis ball. They become very chewy. Make sure it is on a plate rather than paper of any sort, since the part in contact with the surface will caramelize and stick. As for the time, well, you just have to watch them. When they stop growing, they are ready. It usually takes less than a minute. After they are removed from the oven, they will begin to shrink again, and the soft center will begin to harden. It is quite different than a marshmallow toasted over an open flame. Ah, the joys of technology!
caillebotte_man at his window

Hazy Shade of Winter

A couple of days after a winter storm, the haze usually appears. Shadows grow slightly fuzzy around the edges, and the pines, reflecting less light, seem not only darker, but larger. On these days, my thoughts grow vague like the light. As I was returning from my walk, two bicyclists passed me going the same way. I watched them ride down the hill, heard the sound of the whirring wheels diminish, saw them pass through hazy light and grey shadow. As they reached the top of the next rise, there was an odd optical illusion, almost like a mirage. They seemed to be riding through viscous water which ran down the backs of the bikes and slowed them down. Then they vanished over the hill. I knew it was the light reflecting from their nylon jackets and the metal of the bikes, but when I reached the spot, I half expected to feel myself slowed by some invisible barrier. But there was only the grey pavement stretching on under the hazy light in the chill afternoon air.