June 19th, 2005

caillebotte_man at his window


I've spent hours luxuriating in what may turn out to have been the last cold night for a long time. There were clouds to engage the moon, usurping and fragmenting its light, and chill breezes, damp scented, full of earth and wood. Sky and land were pleased with one another, and the crickets found slow songs to sing, as I found time to listen. Even when early paleness (that paleness which would be perceived as darkness were it seen lurking in some deep enclosure by day) rose in the east to make more stark the silhouettes of the trees, it all fit together and was exactly right. The weather knows just what it's doing.

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caillebotte_the orangerie


Today would have been a perfect day for a kite. In fact, it was nearly a perfect day even without a kite. Drifting clouds periodically obscured the sun, moderating what otherwise might have been an excessive heat, and the gusty breezes which have followed on the wake of the late storm brought cool air from shady woodlands even when the sun was bared and bright. Nobody ran power mowers or leaf blowers, thus allowing the fluttering leaves and humming pines to please the ears without interference, and the sky, free of noisy aircraft, was (though sadly bereft of kites as well) graced by the serene and silent flight of birds. Rose bushes along the street, now recovering from the most recent depredations of browsing deer, flaunted fresh, colorful blossoms, and the small purple flowers of the sourgrass fully opened for the first time in days.

The slow descent of the sun has now brought that lingering June twilight in which the landscape fades with stately grace, entering repose to the accompaniment of thrushes and larks, the chirps of crickets, and the soft flutter of moth wings. Once again, the dampening storm having passed, the night blooming jasmine releases its fragrance to enchant the darkness, while stars begin to dot the cerulean sky. The nearly-full moon has completed a third of its journey west, and now, as seen from my window, hangs like a white lantern in the topmost branches of a nearby ponderosa. The soft, scented evening breeze remains very cool. The brief night promises to be as nearly perfect as the long afternoon.