July 21st, 2005


Decorated Night

Slowly, the dusk haze formed clouds like flocks of sheep and feathery fans, and the round moon rose to light them. Silver and gunmetal draping black velvet, the aerial display drifted over somnolent, balmy woods, where shadows gave way to even, milky light, and then returned, again and again. All the dry, grassy-scented night, a single surviving cricket sang lonely chirps. Once the moon had settled behind the dense foliage of the oaks, the clouds returned to their hazy, formless state, and the sky was starless but for red Mars in the east. But the moon, where I could glimpse it amid the leaves, grew even redder than Mars as the sky paled toward morning, as though some smoke had risen from the valley to obscure it. The hours of clarity now seem like something I might have dreamed, and the prospect of another sultry day like waking to thirst in a desert.

Bright Gray

An overcast day in July differs from an overcast day in cooler seasons. The gray itself is more luminous, so that even the deepest woods are free of gloom, and colors are less subdued. The marbled sky is shot with pearly light and the warm air grows heavy. Today, the overcast began to differentiate itself into massed clouds as afternoon passed, and the orange sun at last appeared as it neared the horizon, flooding the sky with reds and mauves and pinks. The shaded hours have relieved the heat, just a bit, so I have hope that the night may be the coolest in more than a week. Soon, the big moon will rise to illuminate the lingering clouds, and patches of stars will appear. For a while, I thought there might be a summer thunderstorm, but the chance for that appears to have passed. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to hear the distant rumble of thunder from the mountains, and perhaps catch a brief flash of heat lightning silhouetting Sawmill Peak. It could prove to be an interesting night.