June 16th, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Early Sunday Morning

In June, the northeastern sky grows pale early, and, behind the houses on my block, the trees that, through the night, were a single shadow against the dark sky, emerge again as individuals, trunk and branch, leaf and needle, cone and twig growing distinct in the crisp air. On Sunday, the morning is wrapped in silence. No commuters drive along the nearby roads, no doors slam. There is only the steady chirping of the crickets, like the heartbeat of the forest, and, after a while, the twittering of a few birds. The world expands into this vast serenity, and sense becomes one with emptiness, devoid of weight, devoid of time. Gravity abolished, I drift into a point of light. Sunrise.
caillebotte_man at his window

Late Sunday Evening

In the afternoons this time of year, the sun swings far enough north to beat down on my front door. The outside knob heats up until it is almost too hot to touch, and even the inside knob is uncomfortably warm. But the same solar trajectory provides some late afternoon shade on the north side of the long street leading west from my block. So I leave my walk for evening, that I will not be baked by the sun.

For the earlier afternoon, I can spend a few minutes in the front yard and watch the birds playing in the birdbath across the street. They flutter their wings furiously, and the bright droplets of water spray out through the sunlight. At night, raccoons and stray cats come to drink from the birdbath, which is built close to the ground. But in the heat of the day, the birds have it to themselves, and make full use of it.

We have picked the last of the small crop of cherries. They were remarkably good this year. Had it not been for the shortage of bees, this would have been the best crop since I have been here. There were plenty of blossoms, and the weather turned out to be perfect for growing sweet, firm fruit, but most of the blossoms were never pollinated. Perhaps next year, the bees will return. Now, the florid spring draws to a close, and the heat of summer will descend to dry the land and drive all sensible creatures into the relieving shade.