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Transient Vapors

When I got home, when I got the camera, when I jumped out onto the fire escape to take a picture, it looked like this. This is all that was left.


But only minutes before, as I rode along Wythe Avenue from Williamsburg to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and then most of all just after turning onto Dekalb— See the little bulbous shapes down at the bottom-center, right next to the building? Well, just before I got into my building to run up the five flights of stairs carrying my bike on my shoulder, in that exact spot, there was a beautiful field of mammatus clouds—so named because they resemble the shape of a woman’s breast. The sun was setting, its orange light slipping under the dark cumulonimbus that had just delivered a thunderstorm, illuminating the space between the earth and its cloudy ceiling.

Mammatus clouds are the strangest things, rare as precious rocks. The only other time I remember seeing them was during the summer I spend driving around the West with my book of clouds, looking for every new variety I could find. Here’s a picture from Wikipedia. Pretty close. But not the surrounding mystery of the city.

Why do you slip away before I can trap you, you little animal? Nobody else saw you. Will they even believe me that I did? It was only you, and me, and the moments of life that disappear the instant they happen, leaving us passing things to wonder whether they (the moments) are enough.

4 comments on “Transient Vapors

  1. The Song of Wandering Aengus

    I WENT out to the hazel wood,
    Because a fire was in my head,
    And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
    And hooked a berry to a thread;
    And when white moths were on the wing,
    And moth-like stars were flickering out,
    I dropped the berry in a stream
    And caught a little silver trout.

    When I had laid it on the floor
    I went to blow the fire a-flame,
    But something rustled on the floor,
    And someone called me by my name:
    It had become a glimmering girl
    With apple blossom in her hair
    Who called me by my name and ran
    And faded through the brightening air.

    Though I am old with wandering
    Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
    I will find out where she has gone,
    And kiss her lips and take her hands;
    And walk among long dappled grass,
    And pluck till time and times are done,
    The silver apples of the moon,
    The golden apples of the sun.

  2. “got into my building to run up the five flights of stairs carrying my bike on my shoulder”
    Hmmmm, I could do that………………………………………..maybe.

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