February 6th, 2005

caillebotte_man at his window


Last evening brought the most splendidly lurid sunset of the winter. The thin clouds of the western horizon blazed through shades of red for which there are no comparisons. No flower, no fruit, no earthly fire has such colors, and no art of the glassblower ever produces such a brilliant translucence. Only as I watched it fade to its darkest and dimmest hue did I realize that all my words had gone with that light, and that I would never be able to describe it. The world sank unlimned into darkness, and the frogs sang to the chill night and the common stars.

Later, a small, startled cricket leaped from a low cupboard I had opened in the kitchen. It hopped this way and that a few times, then found a dim refuge under the refrigerator. I have to be careful going out there, lest I step on it in the dark, should it emerge from its undoubtedly dusty hiding place. If the cat does not find it, and it survives the winter, I expect that it will provide me with songs of gratitude, come spring.

Shifting a stack of books about, I came across one from which I've posted verse before. There's one in particular that I like, but I can't remember if it's one of those I've posted. Even if it is, it's worth repeating.

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caillebotte_man at his window

Gray Day With Colors

The small tree at the end of the block, so recently festooned with Christmas lights, has erupted in pink blossoms. Three of last year's mulberry leaves, now yellow and pocked, still cling to a twig outside my window. A few feet away, the red splashes of blooming camellias shine among the deep green leaves. At the corner of the house, the bare twigs of the peach tree are visited by several small, pale-breasted, gray birds with black heads, who flutter and flash in the pearly light of overcast day. Their twittering is joined by the chuckles of a woodpecker who periodically sets up a clatter as he drills into a nearby pine, and by the squawks of blue jays. Streaks of brighter cloud and blue sky hover in the west, where patches of late afternoon light streak down to warm the valley's fields and orchards, but here on the mountainside, the wintry air prevails, however much the first thrusts of spring express their defiant resolve. Now and then, a drifting patch of cloud less dense will pass a brilliant solar glow sufficient to cast wan shadows of bare branches, but the sun itself remains concealed. The strange mingling of seasons is all memory and anticipation, like waking from a dissolving dream.