January 4th, 2007


Bright Wet

The moon being just past full, the overcast sky was bright most of the night, and the wet landscape gleamed with diffused lunar light. It was an excellent choice of weather for one of the longest nights of the year. The rain remained soft, often no more than heavy mist, and I was tempted to go walking but the stiffness of my joints warned me not to. I turned out the lights and watched through the window. The storm will probably break up late Thursday or early Friday, and there'll be moonlight illuminating drifting clouds. Another night not to sleep.


The storm withdrew from the ridge earlier than expected, but its clouds remained visible in every direction. There were white billows above the canyon, indicating a dense fog at the lower elevations, and more white billows clinging to the distant mountainsides, but here everything was bright all afternoon. Small brown birds with rust colored breasts hopped and pecked on the lawn, taking advantage of the rain-softened soil and the comparatively mild air and the fact that the cat was napping indoors, bathed in a shaft of mote-filled sunlight. Everybody was happy.

I noticed that one of the small ponderosas beyond the back fence is now almost dead. It still has green needles at the top, and a few on a couple of the lower branches, but everything in between is either naked or sports no more than a handful of dead needles that are closer in shade to gray than to the lovely coppery-brown that is characteristic of dried needles about to be shed by healthy pines. I'm expecting that unless the tree is cut down fairly soon, it's likely to be brought down by a strong wind sometime this winter or spring. I hope it falls the other direction and not across our aging back fence- although if the tree doesn't fall this way and take out the fence it's likely that the fence will just fall apart on its own. Lots of things around here are falling apart. That makes around here pretty much like everywhere else.

Among the things falling apart in the rest of the world is the story that you can relieve the pain of jellyfish stings by having somebody take a leak on them. Scientific American: Fact or Fiction?: Urinating on a Jellyfish Sting is an Effective Treatment
It worked for Monica on Friends, but how does the alleged remedy hold up under scientific scrutiny? Well, I'll bet that news is going to destroy a goatload of fantasies, not to mention the credibility of the late sitcom "Friends" as a source of sound medical advice. (Oh, and screw Scientific American's asinine falling-apart linkage system. I keep forgetting not to link to them anymore and then I end up repairing the bad links I've made.)

Unless the clouds decide to come back tonight I won't be watching them drift about washed with moonlight. However, the air currently has a certain dank odor, so it might turn out that the lowland fogs will be rising up the mountains tonight as they sometimes do this time of year. A nice winter fog would be almost as good as the aerial spectacle of moonlit clouds. If neither of those things happens, then it'll be a few minutes shivering under the winter-bright moon now and then until I'm forced to rush back indoors and let my numb ears thaw. Or maybe I'll just nap.