The quiet which succeeded the storm's end was broken by loud caws as dozens of crows gathered from every direction and drove the other birds from a stand of pines across the street. They kept up their racket for several minutes, and then departed southward. The gray slate sky began glowing with pearly light in the west while the hailstones melted, and the white street swiftly returned to glistening gray. The lower clouds, thinning, rushed by, revealing here and there the gleaming white cumulus which rose above them, and a few small patches of blue sky.
The saturated moss covering the mulberry tree dripped bright drops into a brown puddle which shimmered with reflected clouds. Patches of hailstones remained embedded in the brightening green lawn. Finally, the sun broke through and the wet mulberry twigs kindled almost as white as the hailstones had been, and a robin alighted on a branch outside my window. More birds arrived, and the afternoon was filled with songs.
Now, the clouds continue to drift and the evening is alternately bright and gray, and the birds perch on branches and wires, watching the intermittent sun settle beyond the pines. Gentle breezes stir the chilly air, flicking a few remaining drops of water from the camellia bush's leaf tips. It has grown very quiet here, but once in a while I hear a distant rumble in the mountains to which the storm has retreated. I miss it already.