January 21st, 2006



I hear the lawn sprinkler at the corner house, watering a lawn already soaked by a night of drizzles and mists. For a while, the clouds thin enough to show the blurry half moon, and then it is gone again. I stand for a long time, letting the soft mist dampen my skin and hair. It is another mild storm, if storm is a proper word for this languid descent of tiny drops, and the air feels only slightly cold. It would be uncomfortable to remain perfectly still, but as long as I take a step or two or turn one way or the other now and then, I remain unchilled. I'm thinking how, if I were in the city in such weather, I'd walk the deserted streets for hours, watching my shadow swing slow, flattened arcs from one street lamp to the next. Here, there is no light by which to walk, and the scene is all the same dimness whether I move or not. While these clouds occlude the moon, I have no shadow. Though I would prefer to be passing those street lamps, this, I think, is where I am destined to be, gradually dissolving into this slow, silent rain.


The evening has been oddly empty. Saturday evenings I expect more activity, even in winter. There is usually a bit of traffic generated by the irresistible lure of the metropolis (Chico.) Tonight, the roads were nearly silent. Could there be some event on television which is keeping everyone in? Has the population been laid low by avian flu? Are they all sitting in their houses, deeply depressed? Maybe my own anxious lassitude is contagious, and they are all sitting around wondering why their heads are empty of ideas.

I don't think I'm supposed to be spewing anything out right now. I'm supposed to be taking something in. But what?