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#4 - The Remains of the Day

Updated: Jan 26

Our lives are a collection of days. Each is a gift. Yesterday does not exist, nor does tomorrow. In each day, there are moments in time when we are acutely aware of the moment. Time spent in nature increases these moments. Indeed, time spent in Sunshine Valley can feel like an extended mantra on time. When time expands, and our lives slow, we discern a greater vividness to the passage of time, the weather, the resonance of a day. Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker winning novel by the same name as the title of this post has thus always resonated. 


What is your favourite time of day? This is an interesting question. Is it the rose fingered dawn as Homer described; is it high noon, with its resplendent sunshine; is it sunset perhaps? For me, it is twilight, that mysterious moment between sunset and dusk: 


In common parlance dusk and twilight are often assumed to be the same. But they are deeply different, and this shows in their etymology. Dusk emerges from the Sanskrit for dust, drifting through Icelandic mists to Old English darkness and obscurity. Twilight comes from “two” and “between”. It embraces two possibilities; twin lights that are doubtful in their origins, strange in their effects, but nonetheless light, and not its opposite. On some days twilight does not appear at all. When it does it often lasts no longer than a moment, the time it takes to run to the window, grab a coat, lift the camera phone. But it is always, for me, the best time of day.  At twilight the sun has left the sky. The light of the upper sphere is now a mere reflected glow; and it is particular fields, or patches of sea, or the tops of woods, that carry what is left of daylight. Or before the dusk, which creeps after. That lower light is heavy, honeyed, like a distillation of the radiance in which the scene has bathed all afternoon; or like a last concentrated memory, before the night. But dusk blurs, where twilight sharpens. Dusk cools and cloaks, encouraging the walker to turn up his collar, hasten his step and head for a welcoming door.  Twilight, on the other hand, strikes with a beauty so keen and unexpected that the walker stops, and hopes by stopping to prolong it; turns a hillside, for an instant, a deeper viridian than noon could ever manage, and makes a rare jewel of water in a glass. Yet, for all its vividness, doubt remains. Twilight deserves its derivation. It is hard to say whether this moment is the incandescence of the sky or land, heaven or Earth; and whether this compelling, curious glow comes from without, or from within. - Ann Wroe




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