August 1st, 2008



August begins with heat, its air hording the scent of dry grass, the breezes that enlivened the last few days of July all but gone. Waiting for evening, hoping for a cooler hour, I irrigate the jasmine again and listen to the trickling water. No birds join my vigil, and the leaves rarely rustle, but as the sun finally departs I hear a single cricket begin a slow chirp. It seems as though this summer has already lasted an age, though the Solstice was little more than five weeks ago, so we're not even halfway to the Autumnal Equinox. Night cannot fall soon enough to please me. Until it does, I think I'd gladly skip the rest of August altogether. Then a soft breeze arrives with the first stars, and a faint scent of the jasmine reaches me. The gray cat appears, like a darker bit of dusk moving behind the oleanders. I recall the new watermelon waiting to be cut on the kitchen counter. Perhaps August is endurable.

Perusing YouTube, I found this 1952 television appearance by Bidú Sayão singing Padilla's "La Violetera", the song used to such great effect by Charlie Chaplin in his penultimate silent (but for its recorded music soundtrack) feature film, "City Lights", which is scheduled to be shown Saturday afternoon on TCM, part of a summer series feature multiple Chaplin movies. That's when I'll be busy cooking dinner, so I probably won't get to watch it this time. I've seen it a dozen times before, though, and was lucky enough to see it for the first time on the big screen of the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena many years ago, with an audience of hundreds. I miss the Rialto, but so now does South Pasadena, no doubt, since the theatre was finally closed several months ago.