May 6th, 2002

caillebotte_the orangerie

Warming

Tonight, I was able to leave my windows open past midnight. I also got to smell the first skunk of the season. It wasn't too close, but not to distant, either. It was just right.

This may seem strange, but I have always enjoyed the smell of skunk when it is not too close. A hint of skunk floating on the breeze gives the night air an interesting bite. I suppose this is rather like the pleasure some derive from smelly cheeses. Both are most likely acquired tastes. I can do without most cheeses, but I'd miss the smell of skunk if I had to live in a place that was without the stinky little beasts.

Well, I'm sure that, as summer comes on, there will be many more nights on which I shall have this peculiar pleasure. And, if there are too few such nights, I can always buy a six pack of cheap beer just past its "sell by" date. That's guaranteed to be skunky.
caillebotte_man at his window

Watching the Day

The weather here has now become so pleasant as to be enervating. I am amazed that anything gets done in this place this time of year. Even the cats, when they bother to rouse themselves at all, merely stroll about, unwilling to rush for anything, even their dinner. All that blue sky, all those restful shades of green, sunstruck or shadowed, all that softness in the air; who can concentrate on a day such as this? Thoughts drift through my mind and vanish like wisps of cloud.

Lazing in the shade of the mulberry tree, I notice that the afternoon air is full of movement, though. Dozens of insects, of all sizes, dart and hover and sweep. They, at least, so not partake of the general torpor. They share the air with drifting seed pods carried along by the breeze. I watch the next crop of dandelions settle on the lawn Also, I notice thin flashes of light here and there. Strands of spider silk, streaming out from bushes and twigs and telephone wires. There are dozens of them. Someone else is busy. Between two telephone wires, several of these strands hung close together ripple and flutter, appear and vanish, like the ghost of a banner.

Across the street, a long row of rose bushes is now in full bloom, covered thickly in pink blossoms. Soon, the deer will come to snack on them. Closer by, I see that the flowers of the lilac bush, and the lilies and camellias, have all dried to various shades of brown. Even spring must have its reminders of death and decay. As the sun declines behind the grove of trees to the west, and the pines stand out dark against bright sky, the light falls through their branches and sets the understory of smaller trees aglow. The spider silk will blow away, the insects will vanish, the deer will come and eat the roses, and other days will come when it will all happen again, but never quite the same.