Once the moon has set, the dark wall of trees encloses an enclave of night, roofed by an only slightly paler swath of sky where a few stars shine amid a mottling of small clouds. It grows so dark that even the white azaleas blooming by the driveway can barely be seen. But most noticeable is the sound of wind, soft yet persistent, stirring the pines and filling the night with a hollow sound that continues for hours. The air near the ground barely stirs, provoking infrequent chills, as though random ghosts were passing, but the sound of moaning does not fade until the gray light begins to reveal the landscape and dim colors emerge. All the vertiginous night it seemed as though everything had been caught in some whirlpool of air and was sinking. It was a relief to see the everyday world revealed, unchanged, but a greater relief to hear only the sound of morning birds punctuate the new-fallen stillness.
There is now shade from which to enjoy the balmy afternoons, courtesy of the increasingly dense foliage of the fruitless mulberry tree. I can sit and watch the sun glint from the fluttering wings of the tiny insects who have suddenly grown abundant. There is much fluttering of leaves, too, when the soft breezes rise, which is usually about the time the sun begins its descent toward the pine woods, and the slanting light catches on strands of fresh spider silk that drift like long, thin banners from bushes and posts. Bees visit the purple blossoms of the sourgrass, and a hummingbird hovers before one of the last camellias. As evening nears and the air begins to cool, someone up the block begins to mow their lawn and the scent of cut grass permeates the air. With dusk's arrival, I hear sprinklers starting to water the apple orchard. Spring has finally become its familiar self.