far too much writing, far too many photos

All night long, the air outside held a sense of change coming, of weather about to take a real turn. Overcast sifted in during the course of the evening, but predicted overnight rainfall failed to show. By this morning the air hung still and thick.

It’s been exceptionally warm here these last few days, a trend that peaked on Monday with record-setting temperatures, the sun so intense that when I stepped out the kitchen door it felt like I’d walked into a blast furnace. That had to do in part with the concrete in the back stoop and the foundation on that side of the house — south-facing — soaking up hours of direct sunlight. As I moved out into the yard the effect faded, leaving me with the simple, unaugmented effect of the sun’s light, impressive all by itself for an intensity not the norm up here. That day the windows and shades in the house remained closed until the sun dipped down behind the trees to the west, when the temperature immediately dropped toward cooler levels, the air became more comfortable.

Rain finally arrived this morning, beginning softly, gradually building to a hard, steady downpour, drumming on the roof of the house in a way that made it sound like a passing train. The successive rows of ridges that spread north from this hill slowly faded into mist, became faint suggestions of rising lines, ascending to the east and west and out of sight. Since then, the rain stopped, the mist cleared. Clouds in numerous shades of gray have been drifting over the valley, the air has been washed clean of yesterday’s humidity. Bits of orange and red are spread over the hillsides, the first small signs of the coming onslaught of color.

There are times when I wish I could transcend the limitations of my writing and truly describe the way the land looks here through all its changing conditions. These strings of words don’t even really come close.

One of these days, I’ll have to get a digital camera so I can slap the occasional photo into these entries.

When I got up this morning, the temperature hovered around 55-56 degrees. Instead of coasting up into the mid to upper 80s (and occasionally beyond) as it has the past few days, it briefly rose to 60 and has since drifted down, currently 53 and falling. More like autumn in northern Vermont. I went around putting storm windows down, encountering a bunch of wasps that had managed to find their way into the aluminum tracks of the screens and windows in one casing. When I raised the screen to its cold weather position, they tumbled out, getting slowly to their feet to stumble clumsily around as they do in colder temperatures — unable to do anything aggressive, no threat to me at all. (They flew around the outside of the house yesterday, hunting for access points. The prescient little buggers knew seasonal temperatures were about to assert themselves and began the hunt for cold-weather quarters.) I scooped them up, dumped them out into the grass. They’ll have time to find another squat in the coming weeks before freezing temperatures arrive.

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Within the last two-three days, the odd noises around the house [see journal entries of 8/14 and 8/15] have picked up after a period of relative quiet. Strange, sudden, distinct sounds, sometimes close by, sometimes off in other areas of the house. As I sat here writing about a half an hour ago, I heard the loud concussion of a door slamming off at the other end of the building. No car was in the driveway or heading away from the house, all doors were as I’d left them, the outside doors at the far part of the house remaining closed and locked.

Ten or fifteen minutes after that I noticed motion out in the yard from the corner of my eye. Glancing over, I saw three wild turkeys making their way past the barn — big buggers, looking like stooped-over old men in old-style black suits, walking thoughtfully along, heads bobbing as they went. It’s pouring outside, a hard, driving rain with a cold gusty wind — the three birds didn’t seem to notice. Which is maybe where the line about not knowing when to come in out of the rain came from.

Life. So much entertainment gets sent our way.

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