May 6th, 2007

Hopper_Night_Windows

Gloaming

There comes a moment when night's approach briefly appears to have halted, and the dark which had been spreading evenly is driven to pool in corners and those earthy places shaded by dense. growth. The world is perceptibly brightened as the sky catches light the vanished sun spills crosswise. Bright colors leap out—the gold of poppies just closing, the purple of small sourgrass blossoms, the red of rhododendrons pushing through fence gaps. Listening, I hear frogs and crickets and birds all singing at once.

I walk my familiar path while the light goes through its changes. After awhile the lawn, soft underfoot and plush to the eye, begins gathering darkness to its recesses while the grass blades are flinging the last light back to the sky. My cat appears, entering the yard through a gap in the back fence where a board has been knocked askew by one too many windstorms. The cat likes the dusk as much as I do and has been on a walk of her own, exploring the small patch of woods where small nocturnal creatures are likely stirring.

I can barely see her where she darts behind an oleander bush, apparently chasing something. I don't inspect too closely. It's likely that a final night is falling for some field mouse or other creature she's brought back from her hunt. The onrush of darkness now engulfing my yard is probably not terminal, and will soon be moderated by the light of a waning moon. I walk to the back porch and sit for a while before going in, letting the cool evening air bathe me, hearing the birds quiet themselves, seeing the squares and rectangles of nearby windows become bright as the world around them turns dark. The air smells of spring—grass and roses and damp earth. After a while the cat joins me and purrs. Whatever she has done is done, as is the day, and nothing can ever be done about any of it it ever again. It's as good a time as any to go into the house and close the door behind me.

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