I LAY IN BED listening to the waves crashing on the beach, and the splat-splat-splat of rain spattering the on sidewalk outside. Clouds over the ocean. Wind in the twisted cypress. If I closed my eyes, I could hear mold growing. The ground was a humid sponge that never dried out but kept decomposing underfoot. The windowpanes by my bed sprouted hairline fractures of dark green. It was so moist, the linoleum sagged like mushy Rice Crispies. Even clean cotton sheets fresh from the dryer quickly assumed the sweet-sour fragrance of curdled milk. Nature was a magician; it caused wood to bend and glass to sweat.