Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Saturday Afternoon

Today was the day we had planned for a yard sale, but we'd read it was going to rain all weekend, so we slowed our preparations, and of course it turned out to be a fine day. Still a bit chilly, but an in-and-out sun and a grand armada of passing clouds. I took a break from the schlepping around three o'clock, looking for inspiration. Walked down to Spy Pond, took the path between the baseball field and the shore trees. Sat down under a sycamore. Thought about Saturday. We all have an Ur-Saturday, or maybe pieces of childhood Saturdays we take with us as the paradigm. Mine has pieces of getting a decoder ring out of a box of Quaker Puffed Wheat cereal; going to a hardware store with my father, and he wearing a gray sweatshirt instead of the usual brown corduroy jacket; and the enticing sounds of kids outside on Nutmeg Lane, their voices as crisp as birdcalls. This Saturday was not so different outwardly. Silver sheen on the water, unidentified ducks, distant rumble of the world's errands. And then, under scrutiny, the pond became a set piece. The sky, striped with high rows of altocumulus, and much lower, big gray ruminant cumuli. Not organized enough to be a threat, but dominant, turning Arlington into a Nordic village as the sunplay kept changing on the opposite shore, coloring a steeple, showing off the ochre trees on little Elizabeth Island. That's what defines the look of these months: the quality of sunlight, how low in the sky, how bossed by clouds. I watched the clouds bull their way overhead like the animated sky herd of a Miyazaki film. Then the cinematic minute gave way to the errand. Time to pick up my stuff at the dry cleaners. 


  1. Hal,

    I tried to post a comment on your blog, which is very good, but it I don't see it. Will see if this one is viewable. (I never responded to a 'blog' so really don't know what the hell I'm doing. --bb

  2. What can I say? You were already a BLOODY good writer when you arrived at UBC and yet you found some space to get better and better.

    Looking forward to more.

  3. Miyazaki does love his clouds....Nice post, Hal.