Before the Earthquake and Hurricane: Summer Music in the Afternoon
The air is surprisingly cool for late August. I’m sitting on an upstairs porch looking out over the tops of trees in their full dress of summer greens—maples, magnolias, dogwoods with white blossoms. The branches and leaves sway and rustle in the breeze. Somewhere a wind chime answers the moving air with a light ting and ringing like a message in the near distance, signaling the change of seasons. Overhead, shifting faces of white clouds drift through a blue sky, sliced by faint streaks from the trail of a jet that has long since passed by.
In this moment before evening, before the shift in seasons and the rush of autumn, I can almost hear the earth singing. Harmonizing with the wind chimes are thousands of crickets exploding with sound then quieting and birds sweeping through the sky calling to each other. The rustle of the trees, the call of the birds, the chirping of the crickets, the swoosh of the breeze are like nature’s symphony–an unexpected summer moment on this quiet August afternoon.
I sit high enough off the ground to see the sunlight golden on the tree tops and also to see the trees dark green, almost black, where the sun has left and the afternoon shadows have spread. I look down on the roses in a neighbor’s garden and look out on the brick chimneys of other neighbors’ houses.
I’m aware of the different voices of nature around me, each communicating its renditions of life, none of them taking notice of who will run for President of the United States, or who will emerge in power in Libya and Syria, or how the markets will close.
A flock of birds suddenly swoops past talking loudly to each other. What do they see and say and know?
[This post was written late afternoon Aug. 22. At 1:50pm on Aug. 23 Washington, DC shook as a result of an unusual 5.9 earthquake. As I edit this, we await the arrival of Hurricane Irene, characterized as a once-in-a-lifetime hurricane. The locusts, we hope, will pass us by.]
“I’m aware of the different voices of nature around me, each communicating its renditions of life, none of them taking notice of who will run for President of the United States, or who will emerge in power in Libya and Syria, or how the markets will close.”
I love that!
First an earthquake and now a hurricane-excitement in the summer. The grey sky moving swiftly east at this moment , dark grayness of clouds on a light greyness of the sky behind. Our city shut down. No subways, no busses, no tunnels, few bridges and airports closed. This produced a quiet that gave room to hear the persistent rain,to hear the wind -forces which flooded the city, tore more than 1000 trees from their place, caused black outs and damage in many places but also provided an enforced time of quiet for the city. The contradictions in the force and forces of nature provoke us.
I just went out to see the Hudson River covered by flaming pink clouds made the sky seem like moving fire. Then the pink merged with purple grey and now the night has darkened dramatically.The light was such a relief after unrelieved gray, and the contrasts are now so autumnal as the temperature has also dropped.
Thanks for your blog. –ES