April, 2009 Archive

Under the Dome 2009

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Ecolit class hike number one.

Today’s rain, the first in weeks during this dry wet season, regreens the yellowing vegetation.  The air is damp, ready to unload again from scudding clouds overhead. Intermittent sounds of breeze: a vibrating groan from the sycamore overhanging the dome, a light rustle from the pepper tree to the side, a delicate breath from the oaks on the hillside.  The soil, which had become hard  and crusted yesterday is gooey or bouncy.

Over the ridgeline to the east, the grey veils part, displaying two blue patches and then quickly cover up, recalling the momentary revelation of sunshine, deep azure and billowing cumulus on the slippery trail up the canyon which lighted up a fresh carpet of wildflowers on the serpentine slope.

Birds twitter in the oaks near the bridge, goading us to leave this Golden Age and head back down to the world of work.

Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Short bright streak moving above the black mass of East Cuesta Ridge,  another one overhead.  The mountain wall turning dark dark green.  Deep blue sky fading to white at the wavy border with the ridge. Bird song from all directions no match for the roar of freeway traffic in the still clear air. Homer the cat meows for breakfast. A little color washes the hills to the north behind Poly where the skyline is smoky gray. To the east a line of tiny trees serrate the ridge. A trace of pink in the glow. Steam rises from what’s left in my  cup as the caffeine rises and clears my sinuses.

I stare at the bright spot that marks the entry point, the grand portal, tabernacle’s curtain, door of the tent.  That point has travelled ninety degrees north since December. No trace left of darkness.  The wait is impatient. Has the temperature dropped or have I lost all bed-warmth?  A small flock of birds scoots by. The newspaper sits waiting in the driveway. Bunchgrasses I transplanted yesterday to make room for tomato plants grow rootlets to take up water in their new home.

A bird in the topmost branch across the street silouetted against sky. A new vapor trail in the same spot above the ridge now hardly visible against the bright background. Maple leaves have grown from one inch maroon to five inches olive-green in two weeks. No more pink above the ridge. The volunteer oak on the lot corner below glistening light green, almost doubled in size.  Pea tendrils quiver. The windmill starts turning.  A quick look at the horizon leaves a mark on the retina and warmth on my forehead, but fingers stiffen with cold.

Can I sense the earth revolving eastward? Vapor seems to condense above the ridgeline or is it my tightening eyelashes? Two crows overhead.  A car alarm goes off. Its infuriating pulse persists.  But perhaps this is a chorus of welcome”horns of a procession entering the city gate.

Then it stops, leaving a moment of pure silence.

Flame tops the horizon in slow motion, frees itself from the land, and ascends, throbbing heat, needling eyes.  I put my hand up and squint through the slit of fingers glowing orange-pink at the full circle in the center of a luminescent web. The pea blossoms turn translucent. I cast a shadow behind me and the sharp shadow of the pen dances with the line across the page.  I don’t dare look longer at the naked body in the sky. From the bedroom I hear stirring.