Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Changing Twilight of Summer

By Eilis Flynn

Light is an ever-changing thing during the spring and summer and autumn (not so much during winter, when there’s precious little of it, and around here, it’s mostly in shades of light gray and dark gray, probably more than 50, even), and that’s so clear in the days leading up to June 21, the official start of the summer season and what’s confusingly referred to as midsummer.

I’ve noticed this year, more than previous ones, that I’m more sensitive to the earlier lightening of the day (as opposed to lightning, very different). And it’s not just me: my hub has noticed it too. It’s weird to wake up at something like four o’clock in the morning and be able to see because it’s light out already. He’s sensible in that he rolls over and goes back to sleep when that happens to him, but I tend to be an early riser and I have to fight not getting up. Because, you know, if it’s light I should get up. But no! It’s too early! It’s not as if I have to get up, because right now I work at home. I could sleep in. By the time I do get back to sleep after this internal argument, I doze for a while and finally wake up for real by six o’clock, because, you know, the hub has to go to work.

Biorhythms are tricky things, and your internal clock is your own. Mornings are tough for me, because I have to work at not waking up too early. Night is another challenge because I get tired while it’s still light out, because in this area and at this time of year not only does the light present itself early in the morning, it goes away late in the evening. It’s light until almost ten o’clock, and by then, I’m ready to doze off. It’s embarrassing, I tell you.

And the summer twilight is a fascinating thing. Seeing it (when it’s not overcast around here) makes me appreciate the rich imaginations of composers who wrote music about it in earlier times, playwrights who used it as fodder for their work, and novelists who let it inspire them to reach into a magical otherworld (hey, like here!). It’s the time of day when the eye plays tricks on you, making you wonder if you indeed see what you thought you saw. Or did you? If you’ve ever seen Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, you know what that’s about.

But summer light ends quickly enough, and before too long (unfortunately, so, so soon), the twilight of magic is done. Autumn light is very different, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never glimpsed a magical otherworld where autumn is the norm. Come to think of it, why not? I guess I’ll have to keep an eye out for it as I watch the summer light shift and change!

Eilis Flynn can be found to argue with at Facebook, Twitter, or at her website at If you’re looking for an editor, you can find her at as Elizabeth Flynn. Either way, you’ll find her online somewhere!