Sunday, September 6, 2009

autumn preview

We've had a blazing summer in Seattle: a record number of days over 90°F*, minuscule rainfall, and one unbelievable day of 103° when I felt as though I was living in one of those Twilight Zone episodes in which one's neighbourhood is somehow dissected out of the rest of the universe and dropped into its own particular hell. (Who has read Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life"? Very creepy story, and the basis for that Twilight Zone ep.)

Today, though, it's a preview of autumn. Cool, grey, raining, with the trees' luscious summer drapery suddenly wearing and tearing, as you can see from the photo. The wildlife is beginning to forage seriously. This morning we were both up early (lots to do, as you'll see on Tuesday) and the rain was pouring, in that leisurely Seattle way--steady, earnest, not too excitable--the leaves on all the trees surrounding our kitchen and breakfast room trembling gently as they offered their throat to be washed clean of dust. And then the small, untended plum tree in our back neighbours' garden began to shake violently, thrashing back and forth as though suffering its own private hurricane. It turned out to be two young raccoons, inexpertly trying to harvest the fruit.

No, we didn't get a photo. One day we'll remember to keep the camera handy but (oh, you know what's coming next) today is not that day.

I think it's going to rain all day. That suits me nicely. I will write for a while, then go submerge myself in a bath with the lights off while the water runnels off the roof and into the thirsty roses. I will feel as though I'm floating in a subterranean hot spring. My mind will idle. I will dream.

The other night in bed, too tired to read too wired to sleep, I was trying to convert the temperature on my clock, 19C, into F. I found the usual formula ([°F] = [°C] × 95 + 32) irritating, especially once the temperature dropped to 18.5°C (all those nines and fives, tuh). So I came up with an easier way: [°C] = 2[°F] - (2[°F] × 110) + 32. That is, multiply the degrees in Celsius, e.g. 18.5, by 2. Take away ten percent. Add 32. Easy. My gift to all you obsessive insomniacs with European nightstand clocks. We are legion...

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