In the early morning, before I open the blinds, before the sun approaches rising, I imagine the chill enveloping everything outside, October slipping quickly toward November, to the possibility of rolling snake eyes, to snow.
Winter always came that way, unannounced, and at least by me, unwelcomed, the last of the crimson, flame orange and ochre leaves dragged to the earth and buried ignominiously.
But I know when I do open the blinds, even while the sun is still in its celestial witness protection, I will see the shadow of the palm trees and know that here we measure winter on a wholly different scale.
This morning the sky is a painting by Magritte as it is most days, no title Ceci n’est pas un ciel.
The birds rise from the wetland as Escher would imagine them, the small wetland once a place that might be painted by Monet on a day when he cared nothing for water lillies, but now a jungle of Gauguin.
We wait for the return of the flocks as the sun makes its retreat and imagine again a blazing sky over Arles.
I set out this morning with my large dictionary to find the perfect word to describe the sky, the sun just peering over the roof of a distant house, the few clouds aflame in a silent fire.
I knew there was a word for what I saw in the dictionary, for there is a word for everything if you search long and hard enough, but after a while I gave up when I realized I could no longer recall what I had seen that set me off on this search.
He should have known that the day was doomed from the moment he woke to see his alarm clock in pieces on the floor by his bed, the cat grinning at him from the place where the clock had always sat.
Finally arriving at the office, he was no sooner at his desk when the fire alarm bell rang. Within moments of reentering after the all clear, it rang again, and his own, very private Chinese fire drill was under way.
The day calmed until, after lunch, the Regional Manager arrived, gathered everyone at the great round conference table, and demanded to know who had made a simple error, and watched as the inevitable circular firing squad began.
The finches are struggling this morning, searching the lawn for the odd clover seed that’s yet to be reduced to dust by a summer where the rain has painted our world with a palette of parchment, ochre, leaving us wandering an increasingly sepia world.
We know that the rains will come again, that nature’s green will return, however briefly, before winter encases us all in its white mantle that we pierce at our risk.
The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.
As I stare out the window and watch the snow slowly build on the limbs of the now barren crab apple, painting it with a whiteness that bears heavily, giving the smaller branches a better view of the ground in which their fruit of the summer lies buried.
I am forced to wonder if the tree continues to watch me, if its vision is clouded by the snowy blanket in which it wraps itself this day, and if it does, what must it think of someone so sedentary when it, bearing its winter burden can still dance gently in the morning wind.