March 28th, 2004

caillebotte_man at his window

Creeping Up

The twilight that is days cusp reveals an oak leaf cluster torn loose, the gust of wind that detached it long gone. I pick it up. The softness of the leaves is surprising. Scant weeks will turn the living leaves dark and tough. Mature, they posses remarkable endurance. Many times in spring or summer I have found buried in the indistinguishable remains of other leaves which rotted to soil an oak leaf, still shapely and strong, long months after it fell from the tree. But these soft, pale green leaves I hold now will never reach that stage. Left in the flower bed, they will quickly decay, the intricate tracery of veins dissolve into soil, vanish into that slow stream of change. For the moment, while they retain their vibrant sheen, I hold them close and smell them. They have the sweet scent of new growth.

The one long night which rolls around the world has given way to the one long day. For the time of its present passage, we call it Sunday here. Despite the fact that it is the same day it has always been, I still mark it with this:

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caillebotte_the orangerie

Sugar Free

Afternoon sunlight drapes the town, and I think of an old woman wearing a shawl. I saw her one afternoon, napping in a wheelchair with a cane back, blocking most of the sidewalk on a narrow street of decayed Victorian houses with overgrown yards. On a low concrete wall nearby sat an old man wearing a fedora and reading a newspaper. I walked past them quietly, and a dozen yards or so beyond I turned and surreptitiously took a picture. I have it somewhere, tucked away with other relics of that time. Everything I saw in that place is now gone. That day was like this one, a river of cool air shot with flecks of light, masses of fresh green leaves splashed with the color of blooming flowers, yet when I think of it, the vision which comes to mind is that of an aging black and white photograph.

Today, I saw the first hummingbird of the year. It was so small that at first I mistook it for a butterfly as it hovered in a cloud of apple blossoms. When it drew near, I heard its wings and recognized it. It shot through the air and vanished, a brief burst of energy at odds with the placid day.

There were no oranges today. My brain has no sugar in it and will not work. I'm going back to sleep.