Darkness covers this all-night city, as though the city herself were a sentient thing--sleeping, but aware enough in her dreaming to withdraw a bit into herself in the face of the heavens' furious six-day downpour. But it is not a cave's darkness, alone and untended. It is a darkness together--the darkness of sleepovers, of huddling in the cellar to hide from the tornado, of post-coital lovers whispering in a narrow bed. The rain is a stripper of facades, and a force that makes us aware of our humanity. And indeed, man, grey-clad in the heavens' outpoured splendor is beautiful. In every building, every street, every signpost--in everything reared by the hand of man, I see man himself--if only by implication, for the street I walk down is almost deserted, though once a hundred years ago and more it was famed for its houses and its people, those of rich and landed Creoles speaking quickly in their gentle New World French. And those Creoles speak to me as I walk down this avenue which once was theirs--and not only them, but all the world, saying simply, "I am," not in blaspheming mockery of that Word, but in unconscious echo--a response to the call written on their hearts, for these man-made things all around me, these tangible marks of civilization, are to me a creation, a striving towards the eternal. "I am here!" they say, and shall not be denied a hearing.
And then I walk, alone but not lonely, and wait to find warmth.