September 11th, 2011



Today, for the first time in months, there were heavy clouds. In late afternoon, the sky over the mountains grew very dark, and everywhere else it was pale grey with a few patches of blue. Dusk arrived early, though the setting sun managed to briefly find a passage through the overcast and light the tips of a few pines before vanishing altogether.

There could be thunderstorms tonight, but so far there's been no rain to cool the still air. The cicadas have begun their nightly noise. It sounds like a mass of small sleigh bells ringing madly all around, as though we were about to be visited by hundreds of demonic Santas. They will leave nettles, insects, and reindeer turds in our stockings.

I can't yet smell autumn in this air, though summer's decline is present: plain in the odor of dry grass, suggested in the hint of dustiness the damp can't conceal. Should there be thunderstorms, and a few raindrops fall, they might awaken a touch of the autumnal, by wetting the few dry leaves that have fallen. More likely, the lightning would ignite fires, and everything else would soon be overwhelmed by the smell of smoke. It's probably best if summer decays gradually, without any rain to hasten the moldering of the leaves.

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