It was entirely cloudy this afternoon-- a sky filled with the sort of mottled, gray, rushing clouds which promise rain but so often fail to deliver it. Chilly gusts flung leaves to the ground, and screeching blue jays chased one another from tree to tree. As the sun set, blue patches appeared in the sky and the rapidly scattering clouds became smears and daubs and streaks carelessly strewn, reflecting pink light and washing the world in an intense, deep orange glow. Then they turned a vivid red, darkened to lavender, and at last vanished into night, all but their pale, glimmering edges. There was a brief moment when gaps among the close-set trees to the west revealed a glimpse of the bright horizon, fragmented glints and gleams of white light silhouetting black trunks and branches. It felt like an invitation that was soon withdrawn. I returned to my house, where there is no festive gathering. I doubt that rain will fall.