The ragged edge of a cloud bank came tumbling from the west, and soon the entire sky was burdened, and sunset lost in piled masses of gray. Bereft of stars and moonlight, night lies dense and cold, smoke scented, still, its thick air muffling sound and leaving everything coated with a thin layer of damp. Early afternoon was bright, the fine haze gold and the oaks a deeper haze of gray twigs thickened with another day's growth of buds. I watched a pair of jays chase one another from tree to tree, and heard distantly what might have been the song of larks. It will soon be nesting time. Tonight the harbingers of spring are muted, and I wait for that stirring of air which indicates the imminence of rain. A chorus of frogs sings nearby, and for one moment, the clouds overhead thin enough to reveal a mere ghost of the half moon, while a solitary night bird repeatedly pierces the darkness with a high pitched cry. The night, tensed and waiting, is all expectation, a runner at the starting line, a charge building toward lightning, a fault about to slip.