April 12th, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

More April Showers

Wind and rain again, after a bright day when the clouds withdrew to the east, rising above the sierra like a second range of mountains, full of light. Mercurial spring, one day raging, the next cheerful, then falling into gloom or becoming inexplicably tranquil -- no wonder it is the season associated with love. April's adolescent temperament is a constant source of surprise, and utterly predictable in its inconsistency. It is the month of hormonal excess. But we must pass through it to reach my favorite month of May. I must say that when I lived in Los Angeles, May was not my favorite month. There, May is apt to be overcast and clammy, or overcast and sultry, or just smoggy. Here in the mountains, May is a month to delight the senses with fresh scents floating on balmy breezes, green grass and leaves, splashes of flowering color, and blue sky draped with fluffy white clouds. But first, we must deal with April's unpredictable temper. This is not an entirely unpleasant task, but it can be distressing, with plans disrupted by sudden shifts of weather, and seductive moods which burst forth like unexpected blossoms, drawing one's attention from the work at hand to wander the sunny fields and then, more often than not, get drenched by a sudden rain. April can sometimes make me look back with fondness at elegiac autumn and its predictable, almost stately decline.

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caillebotte_man at his window

More Rain

The pale green bud stems of the mulberry tree grow in clusters at the ends of twigs. Sodden with rain, they hang like small chandeliers, a bright bead of water at the end of each stem reflecting dim light that falls from cottony gray sky, so that the entire tree glitters. A blue jay lands on a thin branch, sets the stems quivering, and the light on that branch falls away. With the next shower, the light will return. The day itself is as soft as the rain, as soft as the pale color of the wet lilacs, or the purr of the cat on the windowsill.