The sun was setting behind the house across the street. Wisps of stratus clouds in the west were lit up pink against a turquoise sky. In the pre-dusk shadow of early evening, it began to get cold. But in spite of the growing chill, I was crunching on the ice left in my iced tea glass.
I was in the front yard, alone among the empty yards up and down the block, picking up acorn caps from the grass and throwing them around the mulched base of the Monterey Oak. The oak tree next door was particularly prolific this year, and there were many caps to gather.
I heard a ringing whine in the sky in the east — the whine of high bypass ratio turbofans. I know you've heard the sound — not the piercing jet engine roar of old but a humming, musical sound that doesn't even seem mechanical as it approaches.
It sounded like a big plane.
I stood up to watch as a 767 climbed out of Bergstrom Airport. The fans sang as it approached, and as it flew overhead the pitch wound down. I turned to follow it as it passed.
Although the sun was gone where I stood, it was full day at that altitude. The aluminum skin flashed brightly as it continued to, I don't know, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
And then it was gone. There we were alone on the block again: me, my ice, and the (many) remaining acorn caps. I turned back to the grass and resumed my work.
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