June 26th, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Me and Sluggo- We Got a Thing Goin' On.

This computer is a mess in hot weather.

Something we have in common.

All night, I'm thinking about the beach.

Once in a while, a car goes by on the road a block west. The tires make a sound like distant breakers.

I don't know what Sluggo thinks about. Evil computer thoughts, I suppose.

The strange thing is, I'm flooded with energy, but I can't focus on anything. I'm thinking that I need to do something new.

But what?

The house has not yet given up yesterday's heat, and the morning birds are chirping in the new light. It will be hotter today. It will be difficult to sleep.

I can't get to the beach.

I need a thunderstorm.
caillebotte_man at his window


Toward the mountains, the summer sky is covered in cloud, thick enough in places to be grey. Everywhere else, veils of white drift across pale blue. Today, even the slight breeze is hot, and the air is mostly still, and all its weight presses and clings like a blanket that can't be thrown aside. No walk this afternoon. I can picture myself collapsing in a roadside ditch, drenched in sweat, gasping for breath, with blue jays swooping down and pecking me. No, I'll save the walk for evening, when turning earth has drawn up the curtain of trees against the sun's relentless light.

It is quiet on this side of town. No one is out mowing lawns or trimming trees in this heat. Only a few passing cars and the screeching jays break the silence. Looking out my window and into the branches of the bush alongside my house, I see the three baby birds who are responsible for the racket. They are quite large already, but still unable to fly. Their parents fly back and forth with bits of food all day. Every morsel that arrives is greeted by screeches. Neither of my cats has gone after these birds yet. Maybe they are waiting for them to get fatter. And, perhaps, it is a case of cat cleverness; let the parent birds work themselves into exhaustion fetching meals for their demanding brood in the heat. Then they'll be easy to catch! Whatever the reason, the cats just lie in the shade, paying no attention to the distraught birds that swoop and scream at them.

I am no longer hearing the lumber trucks which, for a few days, were rumbling along the cross street. They were carrying away the big logs from the patch of forest on the edge of town where the trees were being thinned out. I was hoping that enough trees would be removed to open a view of the mountains across the canyon. Yesterday, that hadn't happened yet. Now it seems, they are done with the cutting, so the view will remain blocked, I suppose. I saw only a few dozen trees lying cut, among the hundreds still standing. Some small glades have been opened up, which will make pleasant browsing for the deer, but no view.

The mountains nearby are quite imposing, but there is not a single place in this neighborhood where they can be clearly seen. The only clear view of Sawmill Peak that I can get is from the parking lot of the K-Mart, and the foreground view is, of course, cluttered with cars. light posts, utility poles, and other buildings. The town needs a few overlooks along the canyon, where the foreground would be nothing but meadow and treetops. But I don't think were going to get any.
caillebotte_man at his window


The heat threatens me with unaccustomed ennui, and I look about for something to drag my consciousness back to the surface. I usually go looking in poetry. I found this:

Gazing at the Sacred Peak

Tu Fu

For all this, what is the mountain god like?
An unending green of lands north and south:
from ethereal beauty Creation distills
there, yin and yang split dusk and dawn.

Swelling clouds sweep by. Returning birds
ruin my eyes vanishing. One day soon,
at the summit, the other mountains will be
small enough to hold, all in a single glance.