July 12th, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

Night Passes Soon

Liquid night flows with eddying breezes and the hum of pines. The moon, barely clearing the treetops, floats on the surface of the drowned world. The trees, sunk in vegetable repose, leave me alone. The moon draws my thoughts across the sky, and then to sink somewhere out there in the unseen Pacific. I'm left dull and languid in the dark hour before the sky pales. At the end of the driveway, there is a bright spot on the ground. I can't see it if I look directly at it, but it appears in the corner of my eye. At last, I realize that it is a pool of runoff from lawn sprinklers up the street. It reflects the dim sky now bereft of moon. In the morning, birds will drink from this pool. For now, it is a mirror in which I see only pale light, but can imagine my reflection.
caillebotte_man at his window


I lurk in my room. Though the biggest window faces west, the dense leaves of the mulberry tree screen it from the afternoon sun, and only a few quivering patches of direct light pass through to fall on the floor. This dim space yet holds a bit of morning's coolness. Looking out, I see the electric lines strung across the street , like bright slashes against the leafy backdrop. Always full of coursing heat, they now are wrapped in it as well. A slight breeze stirs the white daisies at the corner of the yard. One of them flies away. No, it is a white butterfly! This is the first butterfly I've seen all this year. It darts up on flashing wings, turns and whirls as though windblown, flutters by my window, and vanishes. Somehow, imagining the breeze of its wings makes me feel cooler.
caillebotte_the balcony


The almost perfectly round moon has popped up above the mountains, its tangerine face gazing across woodlands from deepening blue sky. It is, indeed, a face tonight. The gray "seas" form two eyes, the rettrousse nose, and the mouth -- more a smirk than a smile -- of the Man in the Moon familiar from illustrations in Victorian children's books. It will be full tomorrow, the first full moon of this summer, but it's near enough tonight. I can't see it from my southern window, as the roofline of the house next door obscures it, but from the brown back lawn, from which the day's heat still rises, I see it framed by the branches of the pines. It seems oddly weightless hanging there. It reminds me of a politician, chubby and bland, his speech void of any real meaning, his expression a carefully crafted illusion. I am annoyed that the false world of human ambition has thus intruded into my thoughts, displacing the cosmic delight of moonrise with so distasteful a fancy. I've read too much news, today.