November 3rd, 2004

caillebotte_man at his window

On Striving After Wind

Last evening's gathering clouds have brought the rain I anticipated. I hear it now, falling softly, trickling over the small stones under the downspout, carrying away a bit more of the earth that holds them in place. I'm wondering how many feet of the soil that once occupied this ridge have washed into the valley over the ages. Layer after layer of volcanic rock lies under this house. The whole great mass of that rock is tilted up, bent by the earthquakes which have raised the Sierra Nevada. Thus, despite the effect of ages of rainfall, the land is higher than it once was.

There is probably not an inch of this land which has not been occupied by trees at some time. I picture them, a throng of arboreal ghosts so dense that mile upon mile of the place is packed solid with them, and not an inch for a squirrel to pass between them. The soil in which they rooted has long since been washed away, and now lies on or under the valley floor. The very fiber of the trees themselves, released from form by decay, has been scattered by wind and by water and has become something other, or has become part of some other tree.

But, were all those ghostly forests gathered here, and were there a consciousness to them, and all the ages that have passed were a memory that could be perceived, then, next to that, the scant decades in which their descendents have shared this place with this transient town would seem no longer than the time it takes one of these raindrops to fall from cloud to earth. Those clouds obscure the stars tonight, and the moon which will make its passage around the earth age after age before the light now exploding from those stars reaches this spot, but I am aware of them. I imagine the cloud crests gleaming faintly with light sent by distant stars when this ridge was yet molten rock sealed beneath a strange landscape I would never recognize. Some particle of cloud that catches that ancient light was once a part of a tree that grew on this spot, ages later, and ages ago.

The trickling of the rain seems slow, and the night lazes on, inviting me to doze. Were I to blink, I might miss myself.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

The Other Rooms

My mom had some visitors this afternoon. While they were here, I went out front and found the cat waiting to come in. I let her in the front door, but she heard the voices from my mom's room, and wanted right back out. She didn't feel safe with strangers in her house, even though they were at the other end of it. I think I have a good idea how that cat felt.