Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Twilight Season

When I think of Twilight; and no its not the vampires I am talking about, I usually think of long summer twilights when the setting sun and the stars arriving out can linger for a couple of hours.  The heat of the day is not lessened by the vanishing ball of fire and you sit outside amid buzzing insects, the last calls of the birds and the spector of bats swooping against a pink flushed sky.  Summer twilights we take for granted as they are just a part of the long summer days, when we don't think much about night, except as a brief respite from the day's glare.  We walk, ride bikes and sit on front porches on summer twilights.  We stop and talk to neighbors and still have time to get home before the velvety blackness encircles us. 

But come the autumn months we rush to beat the darkness as days shorten with rapid intensity.  Last night I walked outside in the back yard after taking a bike ride an hour earlier than I had just a month ago, because daylight leaves that much quicker.  And as I was walking outside to take down laundry that had dried nicely in a freshening fall wind, I glimpsed across our pond.   The sun which in its summer zenith sets far too its north and is right in line for the autumnal equinox is now already off to its southern border.  But the cattails, (which we tried to eradicate with no success this summer), waved gently in the soft but still northern autumn breeze.  A fish broke the ponds smooth surface, sending gentle ripples across its calm face.  The tree swallows which swoop over the pond during summer twilights catching water bugs by the hundreds are already gone heading early for southern areas to winter.  Canada geese occasionally land on our pond during the day at this time of year, but never are in sight as evening approaches. The pond seemed to be a lesson in all things country in those moments I watched.  Calm and quiet, awaiting the bitter winds that will sweep it and the cold that will coat it with layer upon layer of ice.  But for now, it was country, enjoying the quiet and peace that can be autumn here.  I wanted to put into words what I saw and what I felt, but sometimes words just fail, it is incredible and it is as soft as a warm scarf around your neck on a chilly night.  It is comfortable and a predesscor.  It tells volumes but you have to listen, look and just feel.

I had to stop my rushing for just a few minutes to watch the sun sink behind an orange sky.  One that matches the color of maple trees in high color.  An incredible bit of peace settled over as I took the moments to just looks and be glad for the propane I had grumbled about in escalating prices, but that I had bought in bulk, and how it would keep me warm in my house during the frozen months of winter here.  I was peaceful as I have seldom been in this last decade about the "Harvest Season" and the putting away and the tucking in.  Gardens are cut down and the last green tomatoes brought in to ripen slowly, wrapped in newspapers in a dry place.  Pumpkins, now bright orange and ripe are brought in and set on porch stoops and around montages of corn stalks and equally bright pots of chrysanthemums.  They await the final carving of their faces into jack o lanterns to delight the trick or treating neighborhood children, and moreso in a nice way, the oldsters who remember when halloween was a magic, honest scary time, not a day where evil could be unleashed. 

Farmers still bring in the crops and I still live in the country where I can witness that renewal of what has always been, the bringing in of the harvest.  It never fails to bring a peace to me, though for many years it was the passing of time too quickly that it meant, and I struggled with the passing of time.  I'm not sure that I have overcome totally, the feeling that time slips through my hands like water, but I have retained some of the peace that Autumn always meant to me.

We will soon bring in the outdoor furniture, take down the window boxes of faded flowers, and empty the pots.  We will mend what we can before winter, and put away the rest.  Some things will wait until spring, but we do what we can to be snug for winter's onslaught.   

I watched the sun slip down and shadows grow rapidly.  Sunset and twilight in Autumn is a liquid thing, sending ripples quietly and quickly out.  It is dark much too soon, but it is still there.  Winter sunsets are gone before we blink as we rush around on what we still consider afternoon, plunging us into darkness and long evenings that seem that much longer for the dark of them.  The stars came out shortly after the sun dipped and was gone, and the fall star gazing is always magnificent, but I think I will remember the twilights....

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