Twilight Calm

My recent post about watching planes from my deck reminded me of a phenomenon that is both a mystery and a treasure to me: the calm at twilight. Twilight is defined as the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon. It is caused by the refraction and scattering of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere. Because I spend so much time on my deck looking north from my house over the hundred-foot diameter pond surrounded by trees, I am often there at the end of the day during evening twilight, that brief period after sunset when the earth is still visible in the light from the dying sun. I have observed repeatedly that in the moments after the sun has disappeared below the horizon, all motion stops. Breezes still. Birds go silent. Tree limbs cease all motion. It is a time of peace unrivalled by any other except the morning twilight just before sunrise.

Evening twilight is brief. Then comes night, a peaceful but lively time, filled with the noises and movements of night creatures—animals, insects, and reptiles that can become quite noisy, especially frogs, katydids, and crickets. Temperature permitting, I leave open at night my bedroom windows and let the chorus of night creatures serenade me to sleep.

And when I waken in the morning, nearly always before dawn, I witness again the calm of twilight as sky lights up before the sun rises.

So I claim twilight, both morning and night, as my time—a brief moment of unparalleled peace. May I enjoy it as long as I live.

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