November 30th, 2011



It has been windy all afternoon. A whirlwind just carried down the block most of the leaves that had collected in the driveway of my neighbor across the street. As I watched the neighbor's leaves depart in a great rush, I wondered why no whirlwind has removed the leaves from my yard. It's a bad case of whirlwind envy, but if I wish for Boreas to give me such a gift, I fear I'll be tempting fate, and instead of a whirlwind removing my leaves there will be one that brings leaves from up the block and dumps them in my front yard. The wind's work is a lovely thing to watch as it animates the landscape, but it is tricky.

The afternoon is bright, and those evergreen shrubs with shiny foliage are drenched with flickering shards of sunlight as the wind flutters them. The light on the remaining oak leaves is different, being muted by the reddish gold tones the brightness lends them. Where shaded, the dead oak leaves are a dull brown. The mulberry tree's leaves are now mostly yellow, and the light gives them a cheerful glow. Through my window I can see at the end of the block a single frond of white pampas grass waving. It looks like a feathery lamp, and glows as brightly as the strands of spider silk that are strung .between a pair of rose bushes across the street.

A faint haze hangs over the valley, indicating that the lowlands are full of fog. If I were closer to one of the canyons, I would be able to look down onto the white roof of it, and a short descent would take me into the gray world of chilly damp, and I could listen to the drip of condensation falling from bare branches instead of hearing the dry, papery fluttering of dead leaves that fills the bright air of the ridge. But with all this wind, there will soon be no leaves left to flutter, and it won't be long before the fogs begin creeping up the mountains in the evenings. Sometime in December they might grow thick enough to reach my street. For now, I'll just enjoy my sunlit world and watch the small birds who are basking on the wires.