The blue of the sky lingers, suspended above the trees and roofs as the day smolders into dusk. The clinging heat slowly dissipates amid the rising breeze, buffeting the green reaches, casting small benedictions to the stifling streets and dry fields. The tension of an unremitting summer caught in the wind.
I lean back, awash in smoke and indirect light, that severed halo of the horizon still casting spells and long shadows into the road. Sweat and ash and insect repellent mingle on my sun-burned skin. The dusk hovers, prowling the eaves and doorways. The day in retreat and night beginning its hunt, the clear sky fills with swarms and flocks. It is the hour of many feedings and more appetites. I swallow some whiskey, draw long on a good cigar. A satellite makes its way across the dimming firmament, another traveller on the cusp of night.
Fireworks resound in the near distance, the hiss and booms mingling with the rising tide of canine outrage. Another round of candidates for the antecedent for the season's first grass fire. A California summer is always tinged with a little too much smoke. The night bears down with all its indifferent strength, swallowing everything in sight. I finish the cigar and the bourbon, rousing the old dog asleep at my side. The constellations chart their usual courses, adrift amid the consequences of some significantly bigger bang.