The Last Day of Summer

posted in: Journal, Nature | 1
Ptarmigan South Alps
Ptarmigan in summer plumage on the lookout, Notori Peak, South Japan Alps, Japan 1994.

Appropriately it is raining today. A sprinkly, spitting kind of rain that crackles upon the leaves, not a real threat to open windows or lithe grass stalks. The extended family of paper wasps, though, that have been building their little queendom under the lattice screen at the side of the garden, huddle against the paper of their nest and moon at the grey scene, too chilled to make the effort to check on their young.

An hour ago the earth jiggled a violent mashed potato as she shivered… perhaps she was still wearing that light summer dress.

The jungle crows seem to have contracted a mass phlegm attack as they guard the telephone poles and wires above my apartment… every now and then they have been clearing their throats in the most oyaji-like, and un-crow-like, way (“oyaji” is Japanese for “middle-aged” man. It has derogatory connotations, with images such as a predilection for young women, getting drunk too much, orneriness and bull-headedness, conservatism, balding, puns, even harking up phlegm and pissing at the sides of streets… it is an image of older men that does them a great injustice, but it is a big part of Japan’s popular culture right now).

Bench warmer leaves of the false acacia and zelkova trees in my garden have started blushing yellow, the misfits at the lunch table.

Mars, who has been showing off in the night sky all summer, will have to sit back behind the cloud curtains tonight. Even stars need to take a break from the greatest show on Earth.

Me? It is as if a vaporous hand passed over my lips. I sit by the window gazing, mostly at the insistence of the falling rain. There is nothing to say. The thing to do is wait for nightfall and then, simply, fall asleep.

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