Thursday, September 11, 2008

Summer’s Evening

Yesterday evening watering the hedge, the dry grass crinkling under my sandals as I hauled the hose down the line of poplars & hawthorns & roses—& I was watching the eastern hills reflect the sunset—the crests of the hills glowing salmon pink in the light they caught from the west—

& a cool breeze blowing from the northwest—not a wind, but a breeze, but there was something clammy as well in its touch—the thought of the autumn rains that are coming in from the Pacific, we just don’t know when—but coming with somber mornings & afternoons & bringing some hint of the infinite Pacific with its spray & roar here to the infinite rangeland with its dry grass & sagebrush hills—

summer is nodding off—the dream of summer—the afternoon daydream when your body’s asleep & your mind’s very much awake & the past is a film inside your head—now the paradigm of summer is a lazy daydream undergone in a recliner with a Dorothy Sayers’ novel laid open on the arm—but then there was a time w
hen summer was all a waking dream—too hot to sleep, Virginia in the 80’s—spending the night & evening out in the magnolia perfume & the cigarette smoke & the laughter & desire of every nightspot—too hot to sleep, & always somewhere to go as the hours stayed static—time was different then, of course, infinite as the Pacific in a November rain—Townes Van Zandt sang: “Time was like water, & I was the sea; I never noticed its changing….”

Cigarettes & coffee & cigarettes & a sport coat even on the warmest evenings & poetry in the cigarettes & coffee & the magnolia perfume & laughter & the Amtrak train pulling out of town north to New York in the gray green dawn or a maroon Pontiac Bonneville rolling down the streets & the swarms of flowering trees & old southern houses & back to the house as the sky turned pale—

& now summer’s a lazy daydream watching a ballgame & thinking of the 1000’s of ballgames I’ve watched & moments from them all coming to the surface—not distinct, but ripples like a trout rising for a mayfly—

but this evening summer’s nodding off, its long daydream is falling into real sleep—a pair of ducks flying frantically overhead thru the white & gray sky into the west—they’re flying into the sunset off the pond near the gravel pit off to the north—
& later another pair—identical to my eye—flying west—

flying west as we’re all flying west while the first hints of the damp Pacific air whispers from past the Cascades & the Blues & the Seven Devils—

a waxing half moon halfway up in the sky above the neighbor’s barn & Indian Mountain—the moon shaped like the curl of a “p” when waxing & the curl of a “q” when waning—the skin a snake shed in the straw Eberle’s piled next to the hedge
to hold the moisture—white & startling, something you see instinctively before it’s a conscious image—summer shedding its skin as the eastern hills turn salmon—

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