December 2nd, 2005


December Cold

Every year, as spring unfolds and summer burns away, and quiet autumn fades, I forget how deep the dark of a moonless December night can be, here at the forest's edge, especially when thin, lingering clouds obscure all but the few brightest stars. Every year, I forget how intense is the presence of silence on an icy night after a storm has passed. Every year, I forget how bone-deep the cold of a damp December night can be. Every year, I forget how the un-evaporated raindrops that cling to blades of grass all night can sparkle when caught in my flashlight beam, and then be lost again to the enveloping darkness. Every year, I forget how dark December nights make me imagine that this must be what it's like to lie at the edge of death, intensely aware of every slight stir and breath, and of the vast darkness of looming space filled with unseen dust. Now I remember.


Though I was half expecting a truncated autumn this year, and a cold winter, I'm surprised that we're already into witch-tit territory here (though if the witches I've known are any indication, the old legend has no truth to it.) Let's just say that if I had a brass monkey, I'd have to watch my step so as to avoid slipping on his detached balls. Merely heating up a pot of soup fogged my kitchen windows, and the cat refuses to budge from her spot atop the heating vent. Snow is already piling up on the mountains, and it feels cold enough to snow here. Fortunately, the clouds are mostly gone, for now. The afternoon was actually sunny, though the air remained chilled. The fog season has begun in the valley, and there will probably soon be nights when it creeps up the ridge to engulf us as well. I look forward to it.

I found an entire page at the U.C. Berkeley web site about the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These remarkably detailed works are among my favorite maps ever, and I wish the collection was available online. I used to go look at the few books of them that were available at the downtown library in Los Angeles, and found them endlessly fascinating. Now, at those libraries which have them, they can usually only be seen on microfilm, in black and white. The books of big, color maps are rare, and now considered too valuable to be brought out to be touched by the vulgar public.

Also: Brad being Pwned by a Segway.