Gray-blue evening has gathered a mass of cloud, and all the sky looks frozen, like a great dome of ice. Silhouetted, the tatters of foliage remaining on the oaks resemble hundreds of small, dark and silent birds perched, unmoving, on every twig and branch. The lawn, lately raked, has already been flecked with yellow mulberry leaves, soon to be joined by those few still clinging to the branches. With this, dusk creates the illusion of a dim reflection in a mossy green pond. The chill December day turns toward starless night, and the oaks for a moment are smoke, frozen in the act of drifting from dark, impassive pines. All the scene fades, and the world vanishes. I close the drapes, and am contained within this small and cluttered cube of lamplight.