Late Night with MoonOverPittsburgh
I made a late dinner and watched the end of the baseball game, then watched the first half of the Daily Show. As much as I wnted to watch the rest of the show, David Cross being tonight's guest, I forced myself up from the couch to wash dishes and ready myself for sleep. Almost as an afterthought, I wandered outside to retrieve mail I knew to be languishing in the mailbox outside.
I swear to you the night air kissed me, and promised that winter would never come. But lovers lie; he kiss was for "good-bye.".
So instead of lying in bed, reading yet another article that caught my fancy -- this one on classical rhetoric and advocacy -- I'm out here, sitting on the rarely used bench on the front stoop. I'm fulfilling the blue-collar Italian neighbor's friendly slur of yesterday morning -- "Yuppie," he grumbled sover my shoulder like a paternal cuff on the ear, as he watched me obsessively chip accumulated paint away from a cast iron fixture on the front of my house -- blogging on my fancy laptop in the middle of the night, no wires.
I've known it's warm all evening. Doors and windows are open, fans gently turning on their lowest settings here and there. But knowing it and feeling it are two different things. Would that it always felt like this.
On the street, soft orange light reflects off patchwork brick, cheap aluminum, asphalt beset by esoteric forces, and it curls into the glistening bevels of contoured headlights. A heavyset woman, audibly heaving from a half-block away as she powers toward me as through something viscous, compliments my choice of location as she nears in a greeting more hale than her condition. My neighbor's new beau pulls up in his Volkswagen, and we chat briefly about cold-weather motorcycling and bicycling and other mutual interests -- smalltalk. He's very enthusiastic in conversation, as though perpetually impatient with knowledge of something I erroneously imagine to be a secret, waiting for me to reveal it so he can share his excitement without betraying whoever betrayed the confidence in the first place. I like him, as initial impressions go, and I like that the neighbor seems exceedingly pleased with him, but he makes me nervous just the same.
In the trees in the lot a few doors down an insect clicks nightsong from high in the branches, a half-dozen clicks at a time punctuated by long silences. Here and there crickets chirr despondently, as though aware of how natural death has already thinned their numbers, and conscious of their impending ends. Not long now. A day or two, if the forecasters are trustworthy.
Tonight, though, I'm in sweats and a T-shirt, sitting on my stoop, contemplating another summer's passage and the slow and then abrupt decline into winter. I fancy I can sense its onset in the air, but that pastoral myth won't wash tonight. The air may be softer than the average summer evening, but that's it. If you woke me from a long coma to these conditions I would guess anywhere from March to October, weighting my suspicion toward the beginning and end of the range. But I would detect nothing peculiar -- chamomile and pumpkin spice -- to autumn's august ascendancy.
Rather, I would think, "This is lovely," and imagine that I had missed it during my absence, missed this in particular, and only reluctantly conside the rigors of reacclimation to daily life. I would wish that this might go on forever, this temperate stillness, this peaceful street, safe among new friends and the stability of home, braced for the endless work of living, untroubled by my solitude and the sundry strivings and disappointments that fill up my days and illustrate by opposition the treasures of my successes and discoveries.
I would, for a short time, seek nothing more than now, and resolve in futility never to sleep again.