Sunday, September 02, 2012

A Gentle August, For a Change

It was a gentle August, in contrast to the previous two years, when the month brought torrential flooding. Those who remained in town during this month of traditional exodus have not had to play heroes--rescuing basements from flooding or helping neighbors clear fallen debris--but instead could enjoy relatively cool weather. Cool nights allowed the house to release heat, and shade kept it cool enough during the day to maintain comfort without air conditioning. With the window open at night, I sometimes awoke early enough to hear the neighborhood screech owl's soft trilling call, cast over a creaky bed of crickets and katydids.

Several nights ago, walking the largely abandoned streets, I felt sporadic drops of moisture falling from a clear sky in late evening. Though there are street trees elsewhere in the world whose resident aphids drop honeydew on pedestrians, these drops were falling directly from the sky above. Sweat from migratory birds, migrating dragonfly droppings? I looked up and saw nothing but feint stars peaking through the glow of a Jersey sky. The universe, it seemed, was shedding tears--one for every star blotted out by the manmade haze.

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