December 4th, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Before Dawn

Yesterday evening, there was a touch of fog in the air. It wasn't a fog that could itself be seen. It was discernable by the way it made everything else look-- just a bit fuzzy, and suggestively romantic. As the night passed, the fog lifted and joined the moisture high in the air to form the clouds which now block all but a few stars. Only Venus remains bright, though less bright than it has been for the last several nights. It hangs alone in the southeast, haloed like a street lamp in a film noir It burns with a steady, white light, as though it were the moon, removed to a vast distance. The moon itself has not risen. Without it, the clouds are barely visible.

This hour before morning twilight is my favorite time of day, but I must stay up awfully late to see it this time of year. So late does darkness linger, that the silence of the town begins to break before the light, with the sound of early commuters driving down the highway toward the valley. I hear a jet passing overhead-- some red-eye flight from Portland or Seattle on its way to Sacramento, I suppose-- but its winking lights are not visible through the blanket of cloud. I sense the awakening of the world around me, of all the people with places to go. I have nowhere to go but to sleep. I inhale a last breath of the cool, moist air, now laced with the faint scent of a neighbor's morning coffee, and then go in. Time to curl up next to a purring cat, and wander to wherever it is that my seldom-remembered dreams take me.
caillebotte_man at his window

Rake's Progress

Well, I've taken the rake to the mulberry leaves. The lawn looks none the worse for having been covered for several days. I also removed some leaves from the bed of lilies next to the lawn. Under the leaves, I found a copious growth of some plant I don't recognize. It has leaves like dichondra, but much larger-- as much as an inch across-- and the stems are longer. It must have loved the moist shade of the leaves, to have grown so large and dense in so short a time. It will be interesting to see what becomes of it, now that it will be exposed to sunlight.

Anyway, I loaded the leaves onto a tarp about four feet wide and ten feet long, and dragged them around to the back yard where they are now heaped up, waiting to dry. They were so numerous that I had to make two trips. Now, the heap of fresh leaves is sitting next to the much diminished heap of leaves which has been there for about a week. Mulberry leaves are thick, and take a long time to dry out, but once they do, they are easily crushed to a powder which takes up surprisingly little room. Unlike the durable oak leaves and the nearly indestructible pine needles, we don't bother to burn the mulberry leaves. Once they have dried, we crush them and mix them into the dirt. There is almost nothing to them, by that point.

While I was raking, I heard honking from the sky, and looked up to see a large flock of geese flying northeast in a V formation. They are probably taking advantage of the mild day to go fishing in the reservoirs in Butte Creek Canyon. If I'd had a camera with me, I'd have taken a picture, as they were flying fairly low, and the light was good. But they were also flying swiftly, and I knew that by the time I had fetched a camera from the house, they'd have been out of sight. I must remember to keep a camera handy at all times on mild days such as this.