The clouds were two-layered for a while, their speeding lower layer like smoke which was thin enough in spots to reveal great white masses of cumulus above them, moving at a more stately speed. Here and there, patches of actual blue sky would emerge to confirm the continued existence of the world beyond the storm. Birds flocked and sang everywhere. The few remaining mulberry leaves-- mutants, I'm convinced, still green and clinging tenaciously to half a dozen small branches-- fluttered in an unexpectedly soft breeze. I watched acorn woodpeckers play fight among the stark, bare twigs at the tree's top.
Now I am watching the brilliance subside, and the streaks of cloud which edge the patches of bright blue are turning pink as the more northerly sky, still a stormy mass, shows streaks of lavender which quickly fade to steely blue-gray. The pine branches gesture as they become silhouettes. A few small birds, animate shadows now, flutter about in the mulberry tree, using the last dusky drop of day. I open the window for a moment. The air is cool and fresh. I don't remember it ever having been fresher.