Before Mars vanished, I attempted once again to view it through the telescope. The finder scope is clearly not yet adjusted properly. The bright red dot appeared there, but the eyepiece of the telescope itself again remained dark. Should this period of rainy weather be like the one last week, I will most likely not get a chance to make another attempt with the telescope tonight. Although I may miss the sight of Mars at its closest point, it will remain uncommonly near for quite some time to come, so there will be further opportunities. As much as I would have liked to get the instrument working and to have been able to use it Wednesday morning, this is no more than a minor disappointment.
I'm more concerned about the cat, who is still not feeling well. She is sleeping most of the time, and when awake, she is restless and irritable and discontented. While she has certainly been through worse periods of illness than this, her advanced age has reduced her recuperative powers. Furthermore, both she and the younger cat have been scratching a great deal lately. I suspect an infestation of fleas, though so far I've seen none, and hope that it is only irritation from the heat. But I hate to see the kitties so uncomfortable.
I had another disturbing realization yesterday. Just as I have seen only one butterfly this year, I have seen only a few yellow jackets. You might think that these venomous little creatures would be something I'd miss, particularly since I have been painfully stung by them in the past. But they are reliable pollinators, and most years are present in considerable numbers. Their near absence does not bode well, I think. Since the peak of their population generally arrives in September, there is yet time for their numbers to grow, but I doubt that they will achieve this year the abundance to which we are accustomed. This is one more of those phenomena which, taken together, have made this a very strange year, and have given me the uneasy sense that things are not quite right. No wonder that I have spent so much of the last few months wandering in the fertile fields of nostalgia, and have felt ever more out of place in the present moment.