24 June 2007


Growing up, L. M. Montgomery was one of my favorite authors. I read the Anne of Green Gables books over and over, and then, as now, I was astonished at her ability to describe things so fully that you could SEE them. You got such a sense of Victorian Canada from her books, transported to a time and place not my own, I felt as if I could have lived there. Her use of imagery is still unrivaled by many modern-day authors.

When I visited Prince Edward Island, where the books are set, in 2002, I had the sense of returning to a place that my very essence remembered, even though I'd never been there before. DH and I drove my car, from our home in Oh-hia-ia to PEI. We still own the car, and every time I wash it, even 5 years later, I still get island red dirt off of my blue car. So much of it caked the undercarriage that I'm fairly certain it'll never come completely off.

There are at least 7 books in the Anne series. In one of the last ones, "Anne of Windy Poplars" the title character, Anne, writes in a letter to her fiancee that she reads his letters at dusk, her favorite time of day. She likes the word "dusk" better than "twilight."

I so disagree. "Twilight" has so many possibilites, the fulfillment of the day's promises and yet hints of the night to come.

I live in a heavily wooded area. A major road runs behind my house, but in the summertime you would never know if it weren't for the noise of the traffic. You can not see the road at all, nor see flashes of the cars driving by in the daytime, sun winking off their shining exteriors. You don't even see their headlights when it is dark, so dense are the woods behind the house.

At twilight, the deep places in the woods hold shadows that are green rather than black, and look warm rather than foreboding. We have a small expanse of grass behind the house, but the rest of the property is in its natural state, with trees and all sorts of brush, honeysuckle vines growing over everything. The grass looks lush, emerald green at twilight, as if it is thick and luxurious. Any other time of day, it looks as it truly is, sparse and struggling to grow in the mostly shaded backyard.

When the honeysuckle blooms in early spring, the smell of the blossoms is intoxicating on the air. Bees are thick back there, gathering pollen. I'm allergic to bees, so I stay away until the blossoms wither and die.

Today, during the late afternoon and before the magic hour of twilight, I poked around back there, wondering, if there were any blackberry bushes. There are! And they are full of fat blackberries, still unripe, mostly red, but a few green ones too, meaning that I should be able to gather them in the coming days. Yum.

The twilight vanishes so quickly, swallowed up by the promise of night and the coming dark. One moment it is dusk, and in the next, dark. It is particularly at this time of year that I miss Sweden. I think about Sweden all the time, of course, but during the time around Midsummer, which was yesterday, the 23rd, I remember the sun rising at 2.30 in the morning, the complete lack of night that was amazing to experience. Twilight comes there, and never disappears. It just gets light again a few hours later. It is really neat, but it does make sleeping difficult. Of course, who wants to be sleeping when the light has returned, finally, after a long and dark winter? Almost no one! Parties last long into the twilight hours, making a late-day nap a necessity.

Our Midsummer party this year didn't go as late as a Swedish party might have, but still late enough that DH and I didn't get moving today until far later than our usual time. The result is that it is now what should be around bedtime for me, and I'm feeling like it is just time to get started. It is a good thing that the magic hour of twilight does not last as long here in Oh-hia-ia as it does in Sweden, or I might not get to sleep at all. There is something about the dark that eventually will force me to bed. But until then, I'm quite content to watch the shadows deepen, feel the temperature ease, and contemplate nothing much at all.


MotherMe said...

I like "twilight" better than "dusk", too. It sounds more faerie-like, more magical. Plus it has more syllables...


Lucy Arin said...

the POTENTIAL, y'see.

Dawna said...

I hated Anne Of Green Gables. Of course as a Canadian, I felt that it had nothing to do with me as my neighbour adopted the cutesy Victorian look and one would think that L.M. Montgomery threw up all over her room.

As for the dusk/twilight debate, I've always thought that they were at two different times of night. I thought dusk happened as the sun sets, and twilight is the half way point between dusk and dawn... right when there's not a speck of sun in the sky and the twinkling of the stars is your only light.

Lucy Arin said...

Hm, I never though of it that way, I always thought of them as synonyms. I like your turn of phrase.