Forty-five minutes before night

Back porch lights after sunset / Darker than Green

The great reward at the end of a long flat gray rainy day is the cool neon blue the sky turns after the sun goes down. For a brief while it glows, like an idled desktop monitor, and every wet surface reflects default blue and streetlight amber. Some days the cover breaks and you can see the wispy remains of the storm’s slate gray clouds, drifting left into darkness.

Last night I missed my connecting bus, and so walked the ten minutes to my house in the cold spring rain. When the initial anger of tail-light syndrome passed, I turned my attention to the sound of car tires sizzling against wet pavement, and how dark black the bare tree branches looked after a full day’s soak. It’s holding on tight, that part of spring when the trees are still sleeping. There are a few high achievers, but most haven’t changed since the last leaf dropped in fall. I kept an eye out for blooming bulbs, most hanging heavy heads and nodding under rhythmic droplets. I lingered alongside the low strip of land next to the local park fieldhouse — already covered in weeds that wasted no time making their eager return above ground.

My eyes caught the last of the blue glow after climbing the stairs to my apartment. It quickly deepened, then settled into the matte graybrown of an urban night sky. The brick buildings across the street pulled on their muddy orange bedclothes, reflecting the streetlights’ shadowed shine, and the hiss of commuting cars one story below echoed again to the north and to the south.

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