August 27th, 2004

munkacsy_parc_monceau

Windy Night

Gusts of wind billow the drapes, and the house resounds with a periodic groan as the mulberry branch scrapes the rain gutter. It is a warm wind from the north, sending the few early-fallen dried leaves skittering, filling the night with autumnal sound. The pines spread whispered rumors and the oaks shiver with each shocking gust, their doomed leaves chattering to the oblivious stars. A rain of dislodged acorns clatters on a rooftop, and pine cones drop to the pavement with a loud report. It is a foretaste of fall that still carries summer warmth. From rustled brush and dry lawn, the crickets still sing, while the wind winging south suggests the calls of approaching geese. All the night, the seasons clash; the town sleeps, unheeding.
hopper_summer_evening

Stilled

As I went to sleep, the wind continued to blow. Even the occasional thud or crack did not detract from the restful sound of rustling leaves and humming pines. Then I woke to a still, hot afternoon. The air seemed exhausted from the workout the wind had given it. It slumped on the land, barely breathing. The day felt like a desiccated husk clinging to a withered twig. A few small birds pecked briefly at the lawn, then flew off in search of better pickings. No bees visited the drooping sourgrass, no ants made trails on the baked pavement, and there were not even lizards to bring any sign of movement to the parched ground. Only a few tiny insects hovered and darted against the cloudless sky. With dusk, the katydids began to buzz, and a few surviving crickets chirped, but even they sounded tired. Now, hushed night engulfs the darkened houses, and the arid moon illuminates unstirred trees. Summer has claimed one more day.