When the grass is withered from the summer heat and stretches out in the lonely spaces between homes and business, sometimes the sky turns. Streaky, barely-there clouds roll in and create a peculiar quality of light - harsh, it hurts the eyes while not being precisely bright. Everything looks leaden and somehow ominous.
I remember walking under this ominous sky a lot when I was a teenager in the valley. No matter where you went everything always felt deserted, and the few cars or people you would see seemed inexplicably hostile.
I'd been out for a short visit with my best friend, who still lives in the city we spent our youth in, and this morning I found the world awash once more in that heavy, desolate light.
Now I'm back in the city - MY city - where the trees are green and the clouds above are simply grey and opening up to release fresh rain. The cat is curled up on the couch, burning candles are giving off the soft scent of absinthe and mint, and I can rest comfortably in a sweater. It's safer here.
Still, I think about that quality of light. It is unsettling, and yet anytime I experienced it I find that a part of me is quite pleased.