A Lingering Hush at Twilight
December 23, 2012
Dusk. Twilight. Eventide.
There is a moment in the day when all the geometries of the earth shift and align with those of the universe. In these ancient green hills of the Ozarks, I treasure that moment because it is like something that is about to be spoken, but never is. It is no more than a susurrane of the breeze, a phrase on the tip of the mind, perhaps a stirring in the crystals of the earth and the pineal gland in the human brain.
It is a special moment that is like the first three nocturnes of Chopin in Opus No.9, a melodic interlude that cascades up and down the musical scale, the falling line, the rising song, the lone piano note suspended in midair like the first sight of Venus as the sky pales and the curtain of darkness rustles in the wings just offstage.
Talimena Scenic Drive at Twilight.
Time and movement seem to pause as if the universe was holding its breath. The birds go silent; the squirrels no longer shuffle through the leaves. There is that deep hush just before dusk when I am deaf, or else everything in these woods and in these hills has gone suddenly silent.
There is a rhythm to these hills and all that dwell on them, and just before twilight, in that depth of oceanic hush, the undertow ceases to be, the waves of sound subside as if to make way for a lovely poem or a song. It is an awesome moment, a time for reflection on all the grandeur and mystery of this earth and its boundless universe beyond our vision or understanding.
There is a harmony here the grasps the heart in its hands with a gentle squeeze.
And, I am at peace in that gentle hush. The light softens and the green leaves turn dusky. The clouds in the sky are rimmed with gold and silver and in moments, when the sun falls behind the high reaches of the evergreen hills, they will all turn to ash and blend perfectly into that solemn moment of total silence as if all creation was waiting with bated breath for a change of theme, another rhythmic beat, a new impression to be overlaid on the prism of the day.
At such a moment, I hold my breath for several seconds to honor the almost mystical hush that precedes eventide. The hush of evening is my hush and we are in unison.
Chopin has let the melodic strain fall into a dark pool where it resonates and shimmers like a pearl in a gently flowing mountain stream. So, quiet, yet so profound in it lingering overtones.
Yes, I am caught up in these hills. I am part of them and they are part of me. I listen to them and I look into them and over them like a child peering into a painting. The shadows grow long and form puddles under the trees. The squirrels scamper up trees to their dens. The birds fly off their roosts, and the pond pulses with purple wavelets that are like the silent sobs of Osage mothers mourning the loss of their children centuries ago.
I close my eyes and listen for the music that I know will come. There will be owls and coyotes and the leathery lash of the whip-poor-will’s gray song, the dark orchestras of the crickets in the grass around the pond, and the thrumming cackles of the frogs, the splash of a bass as it boils out of the water and snatches a dragonfly from the air in midflight.
I am at peace. Just for a moment. And so is the entire world, it seems.
There is only that special hush and it is somehow eternal.