The rain has stopped, but the clouds remain and the night grows no cooler. The frogs continue to chorus, and the sound of them becomes an aural texture, something almost plush, as though the night were swathed in velvet that had turned to music. There is no breeze, there is no light save that which is transmitted by the clouds, there are no footfalls other than my own as I walk to the end of the drive. I stand and listen to that soft yet enveloping sound of all those gathered small voices which continue hour upon hour, filling the dark, pulling the forest close. The dank odor of damp bark and rain-sated soil and its emerging fungi that release the ghostly scent of vanished trees all enrich the cool air, making it an olfactory feast. All things are dim, barely discernable, but scent and sound so invigorate the darkness that sight is an unneeded luxury. I almost regret that dawn will come to reveal these mere objects, and silence the frogs, slowly unraveling the close mystery of night into strand after strand of mute matter.
For a few minutes, the sun emerged, and its light reflected from the wet leaves of the wild plum was so bright that I sneezed. The damp walkway is littered with fallen camellia blossoms which lie on a green bed of winter lichen, and the moss that covers trunk and branches of the mulberry tree is plush, dense, and wintry green. Now the azaleas have chosen to bloom, and the flowers of the three gladiolus plants have already withered. A flock of swans flew north as the moment of sunshine faded, and vanished into the gray mists that quickly closed the distant forest ridges to view. Now, the twigs of the mulberry tree catch my attention as they quiver from the weight of two small brown birds who have alighted on slender branches. I notice that the twigs have sprouted buds. Cold air pours through my open window, carrying the sound of an acorn woodpecker. I imagine his chuckle to be at my expense, as I gaze out with astonishment at this muddling of seasons.