September 28th, 2004


Moon Turning Full

Gauzy clouds scatter moonlight, and soften shadows. Hours are a drifting of vague gardens, now paving the vacant street, now painting a patch of wall, now vanishing among trees, as the moon glides west. Imperceptibly, the tableaux of light shift, but the world grows less and less bright as the night draws on and the looming pines engulf the glow. A breeze makes the few remaining beams flicker through shivering needles, the sinking white fire banked, the darkened forest floor home to a few sparkling sprites of light soon to dart away. A moment of darkness only, before the eastern clouds begin to glow and cast the growing light of day earthward, waking the birds who slept all night, oblivious to the stately dance for which their music was not required.


I was always under the impression that hurricane season is pretty much over after September. This is probably due to the fact that the famous hurricanes I remember hearing about all had names beginning with the first few letters of the alphabet. It seemed unlikely that the season was long enough to get through twenty six letters and have to start over with, say, Aaron. But today I read in the paper that the hurricane season lasts into November! Oh, my! That doesn't sound good. I'd hate to see a hurricane named Zell. Zells are big trouble!

No hurricanes here, of course. The South might get a weather disaster somewhere every year, or several times in some years, but California's earthquakes are more like baseball- 30 or 40 seconds of excitement crammed into a decade or two. Of course there are also the fires and the floods, but we always know pretty much where those will be, if not exactly when. I don't think of those as disasters so much as stupid mistakes, resulting from people building houses where they know perfectly well they shouldn't. My house, for example.

Anyway, the lurking monster under the ground has not stirred lately, except for that little (and long-expected) belch in Parkfield, which nobody cares about except for a few earthquake geeks who study the things. Here, the day was as placid as an early autumn day can be, the routine disrupted by no more than the occasional bit of bickering among the crows. Indeed, the afternoon was so quiet that I overslept again, and woke to that peculiarly melancholy light with which the sun dusts the fading land this time of year. I sat in the yard, watched a few leaves flutter from the oaks, and saw a squirrel investigate the ripening walnuts. The gauze of autumn clouds remains, and may provide some company for the full moon tonight. I think I might be testing the limits of the human capacity for peace and quiet.

But, November! Wow!