January 31st, 2004

caillebotte_man at his window

Vanished

Wow. I watch a little bit of television, do a few chores, visit a couple of web sites, read a bit, and all of a sudden it's tomorrow morning and I'm wondering where the night went. It's an example of time flying while you're doing things of little importance. I can't be sure, memory and the haze of nostalgia being what they are, but it seems to me that, long ago, my nights were both fuller and longer. That they were longer can't be so, of course, but I remember doing much more in no more time, many times. Am I slowing down? Am I spending hours woolgathering, and then forgetting that I've done it? Do I have another personality who goes out and parties all night, and then my duller self returns, not knowing what has happened? Am I being regularly abducted by aliens? Does Sluggo hypnotize me and force me to do his evil bidding, spreading mayhem across the Internet every night? Do I unknowingly nap? Is that it? Am I a secret napper? Hmph. I'll probably never know.

In any case, the night is almost gone, and I have seen the moon settle among clouds that were like receding foam on a dark beach about to be overwhelmed by another breaker which arced across the sea of sky, and all the scene suspended in air seeming painted, but proving to be, as everything else about this night, transient, a fragile dusting of space dispersed by mere wind.
caillebotte_man at his window

Waking Late

The merest blur of moon penetrates the clouds which disperse its light over a shadowless world. A pine cone drops with a series of cracking sounds and soft brushings of needles as it hits branches on its way earthward, then a thud against the ground announces the return of night's quiet. I can no longer see the streams of smoke emitted from chimneys, but I can smell them, ghosts of trees drifting in windless chill. I saw little of afternoon, having wakened late, and I now experience that woolliness of perception which follows too much sleep. Hours later, I still walk the waking world with some part of my brain dreaming, or thinking it is dreaming. Half expecting strangeness from the familiar, the truly strange would not surprise me now. Were it easy for me to remain in this vague state, the temptation for me to do so would be great.

Down the block, on the opposite side of the street, a yard was renovated last summer, and small ground-hugging lights were installed along a quarter-circle driveway. Where the absence of leaves on the mulberry tree has opened a view from my porch, I see that five of the lights, from this exact angle, form a large V. The unintended symbol represents victory. It is the victory which order snatches from the random. Somehow, just seeing those small lights pleases me. It is like the feeling of taking control of a dream, and finding that anything the will desires is possible within it. At this moment, the entire night feels that way to me. I like that.