A welcome light rain turns the skies pale gray and sinks gently into deserted lawns and scorched flowerbeds. Dragonflies and goldfinches dart boldly through the garden. A young male cardinal flashes scarlet in the bushes.
In the alley, wild five-foot thistles burst with purple blooms. Crape myrtles bow gracefully under the weight of white and pink blossoms. The fallen flowers carpet the alleyway with rosy hues. In the uncut grass adjoining the sidewalk, startling blue cornflowers have sprung up. A pair of squirrels appears to be mating, or perhaps only playing, in an empty driveway.
At night, in the smudged charcoal darkness, the chorus of cicadas swells and diminishes. A raccoon shinnies up a drainpipe. Inside a neighboring house, a dog barks, sensing the raccoon. At the top of the hill, lights change rhythmically from red to green but there are no people and no cars at the intersection.
The city sighs in the sweet emptiness.