December 13th, 2005

caillebotte_man at his window

Nearing Dawn

I see the cerulean glow climb the east, and the dark forms of lately vague trees grow sharp. The horizon wears a faint haze which might be the dissipating roof of a fog bank in the canyon. This is the time of year for such fogs, but it might be merely an illusion wrought by the stripped branches of a distant line of oaks now silhouetted against still more distant clouds. The pale moments of morning always make distances uncertain. The map I carry in my head tells me where things are, but the dim light is more powerful than accumulated knowledge of the facts.

The dim light works on some part of my mind that desires the unknown and, swifter than dawn comes the image; myself walking toward that light, seeking what may lie undiscovered in some unmapped fold of rumpled land, seeking the wild fancies which broad daylight will soon evaporate. Everything I've never explored, every venture I've not made, every corner I've thoughtlessly or regretfully passed by on my way to where I am, lurks in that brief light. It's a place I keep the beasts and wonders of my imagination, among them that book in which the words, like the notes of a lark's song, fall into exactly the right places. For a few moments, my thought wanders in that real or illusory fog, and then the fog is taken and I find the new day's illumination empty. The only birds to greet the dawn are the screeching jays.


Lately, I've been wondering what to say. I keep getting later, and then I forget. I get the feeling I'm dropping objects all over the place. The days turn dark near five o'clock, and the solstice approaches. I watched acorn woodpeckers flutter from branch to bare branch of the oak in the back yard. The image of their frolic keeps coming back to my mind, and I have no idea why. All evening I've inhaled air dessicated by the furnace. My brain feels as dry as my throat.