December 16th, 2004

caillebotte_man at his window


It is the last hour before the first commuters break the stillness. Orion plunges downward, hunting his prey among the trees. I hear the owls hooting again. Periodically, the wind has returned, blowing from one quarter or another, but mostly from the north. The sky has grown very clear. As Orion is vanishing among the western woods, one of the planets rises above my rooftop, in the southeast. I've lost track of which planet is where. Is it Jupiter? Saturn? I just can't remember. But it is the brightest thing in the sky, steady among the twinkling stars of windblown night. Yesterday's paper brought an interesting bit of information. Rigel, in Orion, the brightest star visible from Earth, were it 33 light years distant rather than its actual 1,400 light years, would appear 40,000 times brighter than the sun. I'm trying to imagine that bright speck of 1,400-year-old light which recently dipped out of my sight being 40,000 times brighter than the sun, and I can't do it. Certain things are apparently beyond even my imagination. The best I can do is picture the mass of sun block we'd need if Rigel came calling. There wouldn't be enough.

The cat has been napping in one of her favorite spots most of the night, but sometimes she will simply lie there, staring at whatever it is that cats stare at. I will pass through the room, and she will look at me with that incomprehensible gaze she sometimes gives me, and I wonder what could be the things that occupy her mind for all those empty hours. Yet again, I suffer a failure of imagination. An immense star and a cat's brain have each left me baffled. I feel very limited tonight, and I'm glad for the pines' gentle wind song, which removes my thoughts from both the arcane and the mundane, so that I may keep my delicate balance as I stand there on the lawn at the edge of the cosmic abyss.


The guy running my Internet service must be drunk. I've been getting download speeds of about 250B/s all evening. Little can be done with that.

Or maybe his cat went to sleep on the server in his basement again and overheated it.

I'm going to go watch The Daily Show.