I thought this was particularly apposite for today:
Soon it would be too hot. Looking out from the hotel balcony shortly after eight o'clock, Kerans watched the sun rise behind the dense groves of giant gymnosperms crowding over the roofs of the abandoned department stores four hundred yards away on the east side of the lagoon. Even through the massive olive-green fronds the relentless power of the sun was plainly tangible. The blunt refracted rays drummed against his bare chest and shoulders, drawing out the first sweat, and he put on a pair of heavy sunglasses to protect his eyes. The solar disc was no longer a well-defined sphere, but a wide expanding ellipse that fanned out across the eastern horizon like a colossal fire-ball, its reflection turning the dead leaden surface of the lagoon into a brilliant copper shield. By noon, less than four hours away, the water would seem to burn.
For a long time I would go to bed early. Sometimes, the candle barely out, my eyes closed so quickly that I did not have time to tell myself: “I’m falling asleep.” And half an hour later the thought that it was time to look for sleep would awaken me; I would make as if to put away the book which I imagined was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had gone on thinking, while I was asleep, about what I had just been reading, but these thoughts had taken a rather peculiar turn; it seemed to me that I myself was the immediate subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between François I and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I awoke; it did not offend my reason, but lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning.
Enlightenment came to Patera Silk on the ball court; nothing could ever be the same after that. When he talked about it afterward, whispering to himself in the silent hours of the night as was his custom—and once when he told Maytera Marble, who was also Maytera Rose—he said that it was as though someone who had always been behind him and standing (as it were) at both his shoulders had, after so many years of pregnant silence, begun to whisper into both his ears. The bigger boys had scored again, Patera Silk recalled, and Horn was reaching for an easy catch when those voices began and all that had been hidden was displayed.
Few of these hidden things made sense, nor did they wait upon one another. He, young Patera Silk (that absurd clockwork figure), watched outside a clockwork show whose works had stopped—tall Horn reaching for the ball, his flashing grin frozen in forever.
—dead Patera Pike mumbling prayers as he slit the throat of a speckled rabbit he himself had bought.
—a dead woman in an alley off Silver Street, and the people of the quarter.
—lights beneath everyone's feet, like cities low in the night sky. (And, oh, the rabbit's warm blood drenching Patera Pike's cold hands.)
—proud houses on the Palatine.
—Maytera Marble playing with the girls, and Maytera Mint wishing she dared. (Old Maytera Rose praying alone, praying to Scalding Scylla in her palace under Lake Limna.)
—Feather falling, not so lightly as his name implied, shoved aside by Horn, not yet quite prone on the crumbling shiprock blocks, though shiprock was supposed to last until the end of the whorl.
—Viron and the lake, crops withering in the fields, the dying fig and the open, empty sky.