That sound you hear.

That's a collective sigh of relief: the temperature went way up (into double digits!) today, and the sun was out. So out that I walked steadily and calmly all over the day; so out that everything glistened and shone, danced and settled just as I needed it to do.

And how can I confess that I want to keep a second-story office always, in part so that I can be near eye-level with icicles in the winter? Would anyone believe that? This evening, I was a maniac for icicles, taking pictures from every window. (From windows, yes: outside, it's very cold; outside, the icicles are very far away. )

Unfortunately, the officehouse hasn't had its windows washed in a long time, and this year's gutter-cleaning did a real number on my office windows, so most things I shoot from here look as though I'm gazing on them through streaks of mud. Because I am. But see the little dog-legged one, three from the right? I love that icicle. I know that I shouldn't love any of these icicles, because (if I remember correctly) they're signs of some kind of gutter failure and/or energy loss in my building. But I love them nonetheless, with a deep aesthetic pleasure. Can I crown myself the conoisseur of icicles? Would anyone deny me this coronation?

Mark this day as the beginning of the Year of Long Novels, with Tolstoy up first. We'll see where I am (d.v.) on February 7, 2008.