Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When evening comes

Y'all, there is something about it being light out at 8 p.m. that stirs my inner child and makes me want to go out to the yard and play. The lowering light of evening that casts long shadows while the sun is still bright enough to make you squint is powerful mojo for me.
What is it about this time of day at this time of year? Why the surge of youthful energy just as sunlight gilds the edges of leaves and trunks of trees and possesses the power to warm skin and sidewalk at a time usually reserved to bedtime preparations? Why do I feel it's necessary to remain outside to witness the setting sun, to revere the turning colors of the clouds through every shading?
I think this affection for the evening started when I was a kid, and summer vacation meant staying OUTSIDE as darkness surrounded our game of kick-the-can or hide-and-seek. Summer vacation meant that we didn't have to go to bed while the sun was still shining. Summer vacation meant that we could go to the creek and build forts after dinner. Summer vacation meant that we could practice trying to swing OVER the top bar of the swing set while the sun sunk into our hair and skin as it fell below the hilltops. Summer vacation was magic to me, and while I might have missed many a dawn, I was always present for dusk.
The feeling maintained itself through high school, but really reached its peak in college, especially while I was a young single woman in grad school. I remember one party in particular that started at about 5 (and unholy early hour to start a party I thought, but there was barbecue and a keg, so I was there right on time) and stretched into the night, right through the golden hours that I love so much. I was young and thin and tan and blonde and independent and felt that all was right in the world as I hung out on the rope hammock watching the sun glaze all the attendees with a perfect wash of gold, then amber, light. The air was perfect, the breeze was light, and I'm sure the red in my hair was glinting in the sunset, and I felt that nothing could be more perfect than that moment in the backyard of a farmhouse in Keezletown with the crew of carefree hippies that were my friends. In my mind I can still hear Van Morrison on the stereo and taste the tabouleh and hear the shouts of the sporting few on the volleyball court and feel the anticipation of an "anything can happen" kind of night approaching...
There have been other moments, good ones, that are associated with sunsets -

--Standing on the front porch the day we brought our first baby boy home, talking on the phone with friends and sharing the good news while watching a parade of ladybugs clothe the house in spotted finery.

--Weeding the big garden in the first house we built together, with a cold cocktail resting on the fencepost and the sound of the neighbor's lawnmower whirring in the background.

--Waiting to wake up baby #2 from a long nap because his face was so perfect in the long reach of evening that I just had to watch it one minute longer.

--Pushing the boys in the tire swing last night and realizing that, if we were to remain in this house, we'd have to shorten the rope a few inches because their legs are so long that their feet now brush the ground on the downswing, and feeling like the light couldn't last long enough to hold that memory in place.

So many golden moments. So many gilded memories. So much potential for anything to happen in the slow turning of the earth toward night.

Do YOU have a favorite time of day? Tell me, won't you?


mr. schprock said...

Beautiful post, Tiff.

My favorite time is early in the morning before most people are up. It feels like I have the world to myself then.

tiff said...

Mr S - you freak. :>

Melissa said...

It depends on the weather. I love walking out of my building at lunch to a dazzling blue sky and bright sun, regardless of the season. If it is rainy, my favorite time of the day is first thing on the morning, waking up to the sound of rain on the windows.

tiff said...

Melissa - good points, esp if rainy mornings are on the weekends!!

hovatter62 said...

I luv sunset during June and July because the sun sets on the creek immediately behind our house.(Understand that the "creek" is river-sized.) Some evenings the water is fiery red! I also love this time of year for the same reasons that you love them, Tiff. Being a teacher means I have never quite let go of the school-mode of anticipating those carefree summer nights!

rennratt said...

I like mornings in early spring, when the sun rises at 4:30 - and the chickens at 3:00 am. I sit on my back steps (at 5-ish), drink coffee, and watch the sun peek through the trees.

In summer, it is this time of night. In fall, around sunset, when you can feel the breeze, smell the onset of winter, walk through the woods - and require a sweater.

I am not a fan of winter at all, and tend to spend most of it inside, hibernating.

kenju said...

I like early mornings at the beach; hunting for shells after high tide. I love sunsets anywhere, and in the summer, just before dark, when the air is warm and the gentle breezes stroke your body with liquid caresses.....uhhhh

BloggerWannabe said...

Mornings - in the middle of winter, when that weird white quiet wakes you up...even though you still have to get up, dig the car out of the snow, and take kids full of snow pants, mittens, hats, boots, and once a week, skis.. to school anyway....but i agree with y'all about rain in the mornings, especially on weekends, which allows you a really good excuse for not getting to that garden, or to the park, but instead can watch DIY shows and knit...maybe cook something that takes a long anything out of moosewood....

tiff said...

Hov62 - cna I come by to watch a sunset off your back porch? Sounds gorgeous!!

Renn - I've got hte fall sweater thing too, for sure. The little nip in the air is intoxicating.

Kenju - Yup!

Bloggerwannabe - not too muc with the snow down here, thank goodness. :> I love the "cooking something that takes a long time" - the whole house smells good and it makes it feels like everythings just right.