July 3rd, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

Night Sounds

In the evening, I watch the upright crescent of the first moon of summer float down among the pine branches. We are in a trough between waves of heat, and the cool air stirs and hums in the treetops. Later, for a long time I heard a large dog barking and barking some distance to the east. His voice echoed through the darkened woods, and it seemed as though there were nothing else for miles around but the oblivious crickets, chirping as their ancestors must have chirped ages before there were dogs or men. Thinking how ancient that sound is, and how many species have come and gone while it droned on unchanged, in my mind the barking of the dog took on an urgency it had lacked before, as though instead of (as was likely) taunting some treed raccoon, it was warning of a dangerous and implacable intruder intent on mayhem. I went into the house and could no longer hear the dog, but the chirps of the crickets crept in the open windows and sounded like the creaking of wood in an old, old house.