July 3rd, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

After another busy night

There is a faint scent of gardenia in the grey light, as the color gradually returns to the world. The northeastern sky grows pale, and, in the southwest, a band of dark blue lies over the valley, surmounted by a band of purple. I will not stay up to watch the red that will soon appear. Draw the curtains, hoard what little night remains. Let day flood the town, I will go down into unremembered dark dreams.
caillebotte_the balcony


Sunni is a strange cat. When she is relaxed, she often lets her tongue loll out, like a dog's. She likes the hot weather no more than I do. She curls up in the darkest corner she can find and sleeps, with that little pink sliver of tongue showing. My brain curls up in dark corners and sleeps this time of year, too. If my brain had a tongue, it would probably be hanging out. This summer, thus far, has been hotter than last summer. I sit at the computer and try to think, but my brain is curled up, sleeping. And this is only July.

Tomorrow is the day there will be no fireworks. That's how I have thought of it since I came here. Because of the intensely flammable nature of the place, fireworks of all kinds are forbidden. A few people defy the law with a bottle rocket or two. Fortunately they have yet to start the terminal conflagration which will someday consume the town. The guy who lived in the place over my back fence used to get a box of fireworks in Oroville, where they are legal, and set them off every year. He moved out a few months ago, so I won't be hearing the bangs and whistles and sputters of sparks this year. If the wind is right, I will hear the very distant boom of explosions from the large shows in Oroville and Chico. It always makes me nostalgic for Los Angeles, where the haze and smell of powder hangs in the air most of the night.

I recall that, when I was growing up, one of the largest fireworks companies was called Red Devil. They had stands all over town. Their logo was, of course, a horned and pointy-tailed Satan wielding a pitchfork. It never struck me as odd that the Prince of Darkness (pre-Ozzy) would carry a farmer's implement. Neither did it seem strange, until many years later, that, in this nation where I was repeatedly told in school that God was on our side, the principle patriotic holiday should blossom with images of His nemesis. In the back of my mind, though, this incongruity was most likely contributing to that sense I eventually developed that the human world is surpassingly weird.

But, I maunder. This is what my mind does, when my brain settles down for a summer nap. I think I'll go outdoors for a while, to see if the fresh air, hot though it is, will clear my head. Months of this yet to come! It's enough to make the tongue loll!