Columns/Opinion, Irene Marinelli

There is something special about summer twilights

“Twilight drops her curtain down and pins it with a star.”
Lucy M. Montgomery

If Shakespeare’s “darling buds of May” are a sweet suggestion of summer, June roses are its promise.
The coming summer months bring delights too numerous to count. Grandchildren are almost finished with their school year, so there can be long visits.
The generous sun will make diamonds in the pool as the kids splash and swim. Nine-year-old Max plans to come for a week’s visit in mid-summer. He calls it “going to Camp Uppie,” (I’m “Grammie” to the rest of the grandkids, but still “Uppie” to Max).
There will be day trips to Pittsburgh and summer concerts in our local parks. Except for weeding, most of the garden work will be finished. Then we can look forward to that first bite of a ruby-red, sun-ripened tomato, spicy radishes pulled straight from the earth, flowers and vegetables in abundance.
Most of our meals will be served on the patio. We’ll have afternoon tea in the small shade garden, take long walks in the woods. The hot sun will coax flowers to open, show off their colors and lift their fragrance to the summer air.
Our animals thrive in the warmth. The cats preen and give themselves extended tongue-baths. They choose their own corner of the fenced, shady side garden to sit out the hot, muggy afternoons. They take long, luxurious naps under the trees, drink from the small pond and generally enjoy summer.
Pierre will get his summer haircut and nail trim. He looks smaller and much less imposing without all that curly hair. Long off-leash woods walks are on his agenda. There are plenty of friendly rabbits to chase in the back yard. When he gets too hot he will head inside to the AC or jump in the pool for a swim. Summer, winter, spring or fall; in any season that dog leads a charmed life.
For me, the best part of any summer day is twilight time. Unlike winter afternoons that shut down with a bang, summer days wind down slowly going from faint dusk, to a languid purple twilight, to complete darkness. Sometimes it looks as if the setting sun is pulling all the color from the flowers, the trees, silently taking the bright, colorful day beyond the western horizon.
Even the birds sound different as evening falls. Instead of the steady singing we hear during the day, at twilight they chirp occasionally, as they fly home to their nests.
This is the time, between daylight and darkness, to sit quietly by the small pond or on the patio and look back on the day. What was accomplished? What had to be put aside? Where were the high points of this summer day? Was it lived deeply, enjoyed fully?
At my age I feel compelled to be thankful for the day gone by, the night’s rest to come, and to feel hopeful that another day will be given me tomorrow. These are twilight thoughts, quiet thoughts that come only in solitude.
William Cullen Bryant’s words come to mind: “Give me one lonely hour to hymn the setting day.” One of my favorite lines of poetry is by William Wordsworth when he writes, “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free. The holy time is quiet as a Nun, breathless with adoration; the broad sun is sinking down in its tranquility.”
Every hour of every day has its purpose whether we rest or work or just enjoy ourselves. And so it is with this special twilight hour. We should each use it in our own way.