August 26th, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

Would You Like Sprinkles With That?

The air grew heavy. Even where no clouds had gathered, the damp produced halos around the stars. One by one, they vanished. Mars was the last to go. Now, the night sky is opaque, and small, warm raindrops are falling. They make a faint clicking sound as they hit the leaves of the mulberry tree. Incongruously, It reminds me of sand blowing across paper.

Before Mars vanished, I attempted once again to view it through the telescope. The finder scope is clearly not yet adjusted properly. The bright red dot appeared there, but the eyepiece of the telescope itself again remained dark. Should this period of rainy weather be like the one last week, I will most likely not get a chance to make another attempt with the telescope tonight. Although I may miss the sight of Mars at its closest point, it will remain uncommonly near for quite some time to come, so there will be further opportunities. As much as I would have liked to get the instrument working and to have been able to use it Wednesday morning, this is no more than a minor disappointment.

I'm more concerned about the cat, who is still not feeling well. She is sleeping most of the time, and when awake, she is restless and irritable and discontented. While she has certainly been through worse periods of illness than this, her advanced age has reduced her recuperative powers. Furthermore, both she and the younger cat have been scratching a great deal lately. I suspect an infestation of fleas, though so far I've seen none, and hope that it is only irritation from the heat. But I hate to see the kitties so uncomfortable.

I had another disturbing realization yesterday. Just as I have seen only one butterfly this year, I have seen only a few yellow jackets. You might think that these venomous little creatures would be something I'd miss, particularly since I have been painfully stung by them in the past. But they are reliable pollinators, and most years are present in considerable numbers. Their near absence does not bode well, I think. Since the peak of their population generally arrives in September, there is yet time for their numbers to grow, but I doubt that they will achieve this year the abundance to which we are accustomed. This is one more of those phenomena which, taken together, have made this a very strange year, and have given me the uneasy sense that things are not quite right. No wonder that I have spent so much of the last few months wandering in the fertile fields of nostalgia, and have felt ever more out of place in the present moment.
caillebotte_the balcony

Go Look at Mars. Tonight is the Night.

The kitty must be feeling better. She harassed the other cat a while ago. The clouds have gone, but the sky remains a bit hazy, and I've never managed to get the telescope properly aligned. Those bugs that show up in late summer are making their infernal racket. I don't know exactly what they are, but they sound like crickets on speed. After a while, I don't pay attention to them, but when they briefly stop, the sudden silence makes me realize how annoying they are. I wish they'd shut up. Aside from Mars crashing into Earth tonight, and my being hypnotized by bugs, nothing much is happening. I will stop writing now, before I annoy myself as much as the bugs annoy me.