October 4th, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Still no Rain

Only a few hours of intermittent mist, and the sky cleared. No rain. At least it is now cool enough to wear fuzzy cotton shirts again. I've always enjoyed fuzzy cotton shirts with fake tartan patterns. I'm wearing one now, in dusky greys and blues and light browns. All very heathery. Even without the rain, it is nice to have the heat of Summer in the past. Yesterday, I noticed a bit of red coming into the dogwood leaves. The pines are sporting many clusters of golden brown needles, which flush a coppery red in the early or late sunlight. The wind has cast many of them into the streets, and soon there will be golden paths of them to tread. They make a most satisfying crunch underfoot. I am eagerly anticipating the aroma of pumpkin pies baking, and the scent of mulled cider. Sweet spices are the perfect accompaniment for Autumn weather. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice; they lend an exotic, tropical fragrance to the chilly days of turning and falling leaves.

And now, in celebration of Autumn, some Chinese verse:


by Tu Fu

Clear autumn opens endlessly away.
Early shadows deepening, distant
Waters empty into flawless sky.
A lone city lies lost in fog. Few

Enough leaves, and wind scattering
More, the sun sets over remote peaks.
A lone crane returning. . . . Why so late?
Crows already glut the woods with night.

translated by David Hinton

caillebotte_man at his window

Autumn Light

Early autumn light has a clarity to it that makes everything on which it falls stand out. The lowered angle of the sun causes it to enter our field of vision, and we are dazzled. With the sun at my back, I walked toward the line of trees along the last ridge, and even from a distance, saw the various shades of green and brown as though they were close enough that I could touch them up with a brush. Above them, only a few scattered clouds floated in the prefect blue sky. The day had the look of a drawing, with each feature sharply delineated. When I turned for home, and the lowering sun was in my eyes, everything changed.The shadowed north sides of trees were etched dark against the sun's glare, and the blue of the sky was no longer restful, but bright and aggressive, and tinged with gold. The detail of the world was diminished, and the entire scene became more impressionistic, as it were. Looking toward the light, and looking with the light, are very different things.