31 Days of a Sparkling Vintage Summer, Day 11: Breathe In the Twilight
“The twilight was white, and it lasted for a long while. Time in August could be divided into four parts: morning, afternoon, twilight, and dark. At twilight the sky became a curious blue-green which soon faded to white. The air was soft gray, and the arbor and trees were slowly darkening. It was the hour when sparrows gathered and whirled above the rooftops of the town, and when in the darkened elms along the street there was the August sound of the cicadas. Noises at twilight had a blurred sound, and they lingered: the slam of a screen door down the street, voices of children, the whir of a lawnmower from a yard somewhere. F. Jasmine brought in the evening newspaper, and dark was coming in the kitchen. The corners in the room at first were dark, then the drawings on the wall faded. The three of them watched the dark come on in silence.”
(from “F. Jasmine” by Carson McCullers)
Twilight is my favorite time of day. Some call it “dusk.” It’s that time after sunset when daylight is fading but night has not yet fallen–a magical, mystical time when the first twinkling stars appear in a bluish-violet-silvery sky, and a fresh breeze blows away the intense heat of an August day. Technically twilight occurs twice a day–before sunrise and after sunset–but I love it most in the evening.
The French call twilight “the blue hour.” In 1912 the Guerlain company created a perfume (which j’adore) called L’Heure Bleue in honor of this special time of day, described thus: “The breathtaking beauty of Paris at dusk, ‘The Blue Hour,’ that magical hour of twilight, inspired this fragrance. A heady blend of roses, iris, and jasmine, laced with an intriguing background of vanilla and musk. L’Heure Bleue is intimate, emotional, and utterly refined. Like an armful of sweet, delicate flowers enveloped in a powdery aura.”
Artists call twilight “the sweet hour,” perhaps because the light is good for painting without undue glare or shadow. (Or maybe a real artist could offer a more accurate explanation!)
Your task today is to pay attention to the lingering twilight, and enjoy it. Step out onto the porch (or lawn, or balcony, or roof) and watch the stars come out. Listen to the sounds of night coming on. Soak it all in.