September 9th, 2004


Nocturnal Delusions

The moon grins, and Venus peeks from among the trees. The night is the same as last night, warm and placid, unremarkable in the usual way of late summer nights. But the moon looks amused, and Venus as though spying on something. I imagine nymphs and satyrs trysting in the nearby woods. It would please me to think that such things happened as the stolid town slept. The time of year demands late revels, but I doubt the existence of a capacity for such pleasures among the local population. Maps of the region should contain the bold warning; Here There Be Commuters! Forest glades that might be the scene of moonlit frolic sound only to the soft footfalls of the deer. A mile away, the river flows in its canyon. The only naked flesh its water makes glisten is that of the fish. Here, balmy night is chaste. The populace sleeps, and perhaps some dream of something other than the commonplace day ahead. But soon, alarm clocks will clatter and motors will throb, and the machines will obliterate the quiet with sounds utterly unlike the flutes and harps of my imagination.


Today's sky provided me with cirrus clouds to soften the glare and summon thoughts of the sea. Now the sunset has turned the white streaks to luminous shades of rose and lavender. All afternoon, the birds chirped and squawked, and the woodpeckers hammered at trees and utility poles. The sourgrass, which I finally remembered to water late last night, has displayed its gratitude by regaining some green in its leaves. Dusk has now wakened the insects. When the sound of the katydid lapses, I hear the chirps of the few remaining crickets. Elegiac days loom, falling toward longer and quiet nights. From the porch, the cat watches the world fade, and I sit listening to the diminishing sound of cars headed toward the mountains or the valley. The trees turn to a single dark shape around me, and I sense the miles of forest they conceal. For some reason, I am still thinking about the sea.