Tonight is clear. All day, in fact, I saw not a bit of cloud anywhere. The moon is at its best in a mostly cloudy sky. Sunday night, the clouds were perfect. After the thunderstorm, they thinned only a bit, and for hours the wind drew their changing forms across the moon, obscuring and revealing it. When the moon would be covered by a thick cloud, all the detail would vanish from the street, and the sky would seem brighter as the moonlight shone on surrounding clouds. Then, as the cloud passed, there would first be a glow around its trailing edge, and the adjacent cloud would grow brighter, and the wispy bits of cloud between them would appear, drifting like bits of smoke.
Then the moon would emerge, and the street would reappear in light that at first seemed dazzling, and all the detail would return to the world. The windows of dark, sleep-filled houses could be seen, and the black clumps of the oaks instantly grew leaves, and the spiky sprays of pine needles would emerge glowing from the tall silhouettes of the pine trees. Pale colors would well from the flowers, and the blades of grass on the lawn could be seen to ripple in the slight breeze. Against the marbled sky I could see the dark lines of the utility cables slung between the poles that rose to the industrial calligraphy of their cross beams. The insulators reflected tiny sparks of moonlight, like stars that had somehow managed to slip below the cover of clouds.
The smell of the thunderstorm lingered through the night, and the smell of the grass and the wet wood and earth. And, though the rain had stopped, and thunder rolled only rarely and distantly, the lightning continued to play among the clouds for hours. It would flash now here, now there, illuminating briefly patches of cloud left dark by the moon, or brightening still more those on which the moon shone. Through it all, there was the strange silence, broken only by the diminishing drip of water from the trees. I watched for hours. Indeed, I watched for so many hours that, when at last the clouds thinned and the moon sank behind the tall pines to the southwest, and a few stars appeared in the hour before dawn, and I returned from the cool night to my room where the heat of day lingered, it was much to late to write anything about the night.
But now I find the images have not vanished. That rare summer storm and its aftermath left more than the greening rain absorbed by the thirsty ground. The sense of it grows now in my mind, as the water renewed the growing plants.