August 21st, 2004



It now remains dark long enough that, by five o'clock, I can see most of Orion poking out from behind the oak trees beyond the back fence. He reclines this time of year, with his bow aimed straight up. It's nice to see him again, if only for a few minutes each night. He's my favorite constellation, and my stellar companion through the long nights of winter. For now, my summer companions are still the crickets. For the last few nights, their song was almost drowned out by the noise of the katydid. Thursday night, I discovered that it was lodged in the bush at the end of the walk. Once I discovered that the obnoxious noise was coming from the bush, I found that I could bring it to a temporary halt by simply shaking a branch. After I did this a few times, the katydid apparently grew weary of the interruptions, and sometime before midnight Friday, it left. I heard it buzzing away in the neighbor's back yard. My yard is once again sufficiently peaceful that I can hear the crickets. I wish I'd discovered that little trick sooner.

I've been getting cramps in my feet recently. I suspect an herbal tea I've been using. This isn't the first time I've had that effect from herbal tea. That's the trouble with anything herbal. Many herbs are medicinally active in one way or another, and just about anyone is likely to be sensitive to at least some of them. I'm not sure which ingredient in the particular tea blend I've been using is likely to be at fault, but I quit using the stuff a couple of days ago and the cramps are gone. Back to the orange pekoe, I guess.

The temperature is going to be getting down into the fifties at night for a while. Happy.


Dusk before eight o'clock pleases me. Little patches of deepening sky revealed through the gradually thinning canopy of leaves please me. The emerging crescent moon pleases me most of all. I can feel the heat radiating from the pavements, gathered skyward by the welcome night. Far to the north, a gap in the trees reveals a dark cloud bank hovering over the mountains, but here the moon hangs in clear sky, and the first faint shadows appear where its light is blocked by the trees. Soon, I will go out and watch the stars, and later I will see Orion rise from the oak wood. The night will smell of arid, brown fields, but only for a little longer. I can feel summer fading at last. That, too, pleases me.