February 17th, 2005

caillebotte_man at his window

Early

Too many people get up too early around here. Before five o'clock, I now hear two or three dozen cars pass on the main road a block away. A few of them are probably night shift workers heading home, as they are traveling north, but most go south, toward the town and the valley. They must be off to their jobs. Every year, the number of cars that go by early grows. Only on weekend mornings does the road remain quiet. Each weekday, I'm reminded of the times when I had to get up this early to go to work or to school. I don't like the reminder.

I like having the nights to myself, with perhaps only the occasional passing raccoon or deer to disturb the tranquility, or maybe the faint scent of skunk drifting in the window, or the sound of a distant dog barking. Once in a while, there is an owl, and this year there are the frogs, who croak all night, but these are pleasant background sounds, and restful rather than annoying. The cars I find irritating because they signal the end of the quiet hours. Some nights I'm simply not ready to let go of, but there is no way to lengthen them.

It is likely that few nights as pleasantly cool as this one remain to this season. I look forward to the delightful afternoons of spring, but feel a bit saddened by the fact that the nights of winter will soon be gone. But just now, I hear a soft rain beginning. None has fallen all this still night, and all but a few patches of the pavement had dried. The shower may last only a few minutes, but its presence is welcome. I think I'll go out and stand in it for a while, just in case it turns out to be the last of the storm. You never knows for certain when you might be saying goodbye.
caillebotte_the orangerie

Growth

The mildness grows ever milder. There is a perceptible increase in the density of the apple orchard as the buds form. Though each is small, in their thousands they form a hazy veil which begins to obscure the distant view. By night, the headlights of the cars which pass beyond it no longer flicker brightly through bare branches, but create only a soft, moving glow, like a flitting will-o-the-wisp. Soon, the growth of foliage will again hide the deer, and the irrigation will begin. The nights will be filled with the sound of sprinklers, and the damp in the air will be theirs, not the rain's.

But tonight, the clouds are attempting to regroup. Should they succeed, there might be more rain tomorrow. The frogs and I will be pleased. I won't need to go out, as I got all my running around town done today. There are light bulbs, there is cat food, and there is chocolate. All the necessities are taken care of. Now all I have to do is sit back and watch Sluggo bluescreen at me. Life is semi-good.