Monday, January 23, 2012

Magical Time of Day ~ Column from the Sunday Paper

I love the time between dusk and nightfall. The other day I’d finished my writing and walked down to the barn to check on things.

I looked off to the west and caught the last glimmer of sunlight as it dipped below the horizon. The limbs of the bare oak and hickory looked like intricate webs against the dissolving light of the evening sky. 

I sat down on a bale of hay tried to take a mental snapshot so that I could pull it up later. It was like looking at one of the great Old Masters’ paintings – so stunning, and yet so easy to dismiss without a second glance.

As I sat there, I could see a flurry of activity in the underbrush. Small birds and chipmunks scurrying around to find their place for the night. 

I didn’t hear it, but when I looked up in the sky, I could see a jet that was so high, it looked as tiny a mosquito. The sun highlighted the contrail making it look like a trail of rose colored cotton yarn stretching across the sky.

That time of day seems almost magical. Carlos Castaneda talked about this in one of his books. I don’t recall the quote and I don’t want to butcher his words, but I always feel strangely energized during the time between daylight and nightfall.

For some reason, it reminds me of a feeling I got when I was much younger, when I was getting ready to go out on a date. Even if I’d busted it all day long at work, I’d be excited about seeing my girlfriend and going OUT.

The first date I ever had with Jilda was in 1968. I picked her up at dusk and when we walked out, she was wearing a really short peach-colored skirt. I can remember thinking, “I can’t believe your mama and daddy let you out of the house in that skirt. It seemed to me that her hands hung down below her hemline. Talk about a magical time.

A few years ago, our good friend Wes invited us to celebrate his 40th birthday with him in Las Vegas. You only turn 40 once and we wanted to share the moment with our friend, so we booked the flight and headed west.

We stayed at Bally’s and down at ground level there was a concourse that connected Bally’s with the Paris Hotel and the concourse was painted to look like that magical hour between daylight and nightfall. As it turns out, that time of day seems to have an energizing effect on a lot of people.

I’m sure that was no accident. They make money in Las Vegas and one reason is that they put a great deal of thought into ambience.

I know it was a circuitous path that led this entry from a small farm in Empire, Alabama to Las Vegas, but as I said — that time of day is magical.


  1. I agree - that time that is neither daylight nor yet night has it's own brand of magic. Your picture is beautiful. And speaking of Vegas, have you seen that same sort of twilight area in Caesar's Palace? It's where all the shops are and the sky is the same way. You'd swear you were really outside.

  2. Great word pictures. Loved the 1968 memory. Thanks for a great sharing tonight.

  3. What a lovely post; beautifully written and very picturesque, and GREAT photos!

  4. Having seen a pic of Jilda and you when you were young 'uns - all I can say is that you are one lucky lucky man! ;-) Take care

  5. Dusk and dawn are my two very favorite times of the day. Pretty spectacular to see the beginning and the ending of each day.

    Lovely piece of writing here-

  6. I enjoyed this a lot. That Las Vegas scene makes me think of the great song line, "There's nothing cold as ashes / After the fire is gone..."

  7. That was a nice post. Very nice descriptions. I could see that pink yarn trail in the sky!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today and for commenting, too. Believe me, if I could Fedex a sandwich to you, I would, but it would get to soggy. ha! Susan

  8. I love capturing the sky at that special time before dark. You said it beautifully. I laughed about the short skirt...we did wear them short back then! I remember my Daddy not letting me out once in a short skirt. He told me to go and change because the skirt was so short he could see what I had for lunch..he was a corker!

  9. Nothin' like a little magic to "pull it all together." :)


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