June 6th, 2006


No Sign of Apocalypse

Just as the sky begins to turn a bit pale, I hear the trash truck on the next street. I realize that I've forgotten to put the bag out, so I rush to gather the cans in the house and take them to the bin. A dying wood bee lies writing on the back porch. I leave it alone. I have no idea what it's like for a wood bee to die. Maybe they have pleasant hallucinations. It might be the best experience of their lives.

I stick all the trash I've collected from the house into the bag and take it out to where the curb would be if we had curbs here. On the way back, I notice the pink azaleas by the side fence are in full bloom. Some of the crickets are still chirping, but temporarily fall silent as my steps crunch in the gravel walk. The back gate creaks as I close it. The morning air is cool and fresh, and carries the faint scent of jasmine. In the east, the high cirrus clouds are turning white with morning light.

The potted plants on the back porch have not been watered lately. The watering can has long since gone missing, so I've taken to using the cat's large outdoor water bowl for the plants. After several trips, the porch is spotted with dark drops of spilled water. The bee still writhes. A crane fly sits in the sink, so I'm careful not to let the water flowing from the tap splash it. I'd like to keep the toll down to one dying insect.

Nearby, I hear the sounds of three woodpeckers hammering. One has chosen a particularly resonant piece of wood, high pitched like a timbale. Large numbers of other birds are beginning to chirp, and I hear crows cawing in the orchard. Sunlight breaks above the mountains, but the tall trees of the woodlands still shade my yard. The tops of the pines glow with dawn.

Morning is an interesting time, but I can't stick around to watch the day unfold. I squandered half the night watching old movies- (Fred Astaire! Ginger Rogers! Rita Hayworth!) and still have a few tasks to get done before I can sleep. But it's nice to know the day gives every appearance of proceeding nicely, for everyone but that wood bee, of course. It looks as though 06/06/06 will be just another day.


A combination of too little sleep and a hot day has brought the return of my evening drowsiness. I sat down on the couch after dinner and was unable to rouse myself for an hour, but dozed my way into a series of odd but alluring half-dreams that left me disappointed by reality. I suppose I can expect this to become a frequent occurrence as the season progresses.

Earlier, a squirrel played in the mulberry tree just outside my window for several minutes. It looked right at me a few times, but was unconcerned by my presence. I was a bit resentful that the squirrel was obviously so much more energetic than I am. I wasn't good at tree climbing even as a boy, though fortunately I lack the scars to prove it. I never got high enough to do myself harm when I fell.

When dusk fell, Johann began chirping his soft courting song again. That is one long make-out session! I can still here other crickets singing loudly to attract females, but their numbers are diminishing. It sounds as though at least half the nearby crickets have gotten lucky so far. It won't be long before the nights are filled with mostly soft chirps. That will be restful.