February 20th, 2004

gericault_raft of the medusa 1

Cold Dark

I gauge the temperature by how long it takes me to feel my ears when I go outdoors. Most of the time, I'm unaware of my ears. Hours pass without a single thought of my ears entering my head. On a warm night, my ears might as well not even exist, so little of my attention do they draw. But when it grows cold, I become aware of them very quickly. Tonight is about a five second ear night. I take no more than a few steps from the door, and my ears begin to tingle. I haven't stayed out long enough to tell how long it would take before they began to grow numb. I suspect it wouldn't take long.

The clouds have fully enveloped the sky. For a while, I could see some form among them, slowly tumbling masses which occasionally parted to reveal a star or two, but they have since become a uniform darkness without detail. Today will be the new moon, so there has been no light behind them to lend them interest, and the faint light sent up by this small town is insufficient to illuminate their undersides. With the cold, the frogs have ceased to croak, and the forest is wrapped in a silence as deep as the darkness. It has been a night to stay indoors and light a candle and watch it flicker, lest I come to think that the entire world has fallen still.
caillebotte_man at his window

Correction

The rain expected today failed to materialize. That's an odd phrase, isn't it? Failed to materialize, as though it were a spirit attempting to enter the physical realm. In fact, the vapor in the clouds failed to condense into drops sufficiently large to be gathered to earth by the force of gravity. But failed to materialize is apt, however unscientific it may be. The vapor trapped in the clouds filters and reflects the sunlight and imbues the air with silver. The dry land is drenched in the spirit of rain. Even the light reflected by the green camellia leaves and the pine needles glitters like silver rain, and the pale mauve centers of the gladiolus blossoms take on a metallic sheen. Mere window glass turns liquid on revealing the drifting froth of clouds marbled with streaks of blue. Tiny insects with translucent wings flash like darting minnows, and strands of spider silk drift, making visible the gentle currents of the air. Without a drop of rain falling, the world has been saturated with its presence.