Yesterday I drove east along Route 23, heading to Great Barrington. As I approached the junction at Hillsdale, I descended into a thick fog that seemed almost to penetrate the car. I emerged in a line of taillit cars, and rising before me appeared a single Berkshire hill, the first of the mountains, still wisps of cloud adhering to its dark, rounded shape. For a moment the world was black, grey, and white. It was extremely satisfying to me, or maybe exquisitely frustrating. I wanted to absorb every detail and memorize the sensation of being there, especially the view of the silent mountain and the peaceful, lingering vapor. The atmosphere sharpened my senses, a contrast to the dull ache of sunless pall that's been the usual here.
Last night, back home, it was mild enough to sit outside on the porch. We sat by the illuminated glassed lantern, talking, watching the candle flicker, and listening to the tree frogs sound loudly in rhythm. The traffic on Route 9 was light, an occasional shoom. Suddenly in the darkness I saw my husband tense, brace himself, and draw his breath - then I sensed it too - the sound of brakes applied, pressed, leaned on, and urged, of time standing still, the very air pressure seeming to change, our instant willing that what we feared wouldn't happen, and then boom - the sound we hoped not to hear, the unmistakeable, crumpling impact of cars colliding, a devastating crash, and then at once, silence. And in the minutes that followed, sirens growing louder, but then again, as the evening wore on, silence.
Even now I don't know any details of what happened. I hope the vehicles had airbags and that they all went off, that people emerged shaken, wobbly from a close call - and no worse than that.
We went to bed, the night settled into silence. A bright moon rose in the misty sky, and shone in the windows as we fell asleep.