On moonless nights the trees all but vanish. They can be discerned primarily as the parts of the darkness containing no stars. Only toward the west are the outlines of their shapes visible, and only on nights when there is sufficient moisture in the air to catch the lights from the shopping center three quarters of a mile away. When the air is dry, it reflects so little that their light is barely a faint paleness, and when the moon is bright, as well, its light overwhelms them. But tonight, I see that light like a false dawn beyond the trees. In all other directions, there is nothing, as though the world had mostly vanished, and my small remaining patch would soon follow it into oblivion.