Twilight and dawn

The "dreaming spires" of Oxford, as seen at dusk in September 2005

The “dreaming spires” of Oxford, as seen at dusk in September 2005

“…day and night meet fleetingly at twilight and dawn…their merging sometimes affords the beholder the most enchanted moments of all the twenty-four hours.”Mary Balogh

I have always thought there’s something enchanting about dusk, when the light is waning and paints everything in muted but clearly visible colors.  Dawn is just as magical, although I don’t watch it nearly as often.  I always welcome the time of year when the days lengthen, and I shift my walks to the evening hours, savoring the calm that seems to settle over everything.  Even the sounds I often hear as I walk the familiar streets of my neighborhood– the birds, crickets, a lawn mower running somewhere– seem to announce that all will soon be at rest.

As the porch lights begin to come on and windows are lit from within, the heat of the day subsides and the warmth radiating from the asphalt is a pleasant sensation, not punishing as it would be in the afternoon sun.  Neighbors come out to walk their dogs, water their flowers or just sit on decks and patios, taking in the peace.  We greet each other in passing, and the sharing of the day’s end creates a sense of community; we all belong here.  The prospect of a quiet hour or two of reading, a warm bath and a night of slumber draws me home as I end my walk, but often I will stop and pull a weed or two in my flower bed before going inside, reluctant to leave the enchantment until night pulls the shade completely down.

Such evenings communicate the meaning of the word “respite” in sensory details that a verbal definition could never capture.  I wish you many days that end with serenity and gratitude!


  1. Jim Beavers

    Julia, I look forward to your blog each morning. Thank you so much for lifting my spirits each day.

    • Thanks so much Jim! I appreciate your taking the time to let me know. It really brightens my day to hear that someone has enjoyed what I’ve written.

  2. So lovely like a poem. Dusk creates a special mood. During my teenage days I used to climb on top of our chimney to get a better view of the sunset and I sat there till it was dark. It was so serene watching the sun disappear behind the coconut trees and at times the sky would stage special shows using pink or yellow clouds… Ah, I miss all that! (Yesterday we had a class discussion on dawn which is a totally diffferent experience.)
    These days I am in no mood to write. But most of the days after coming from school I first search for my daily dose of peace – in Defeat Despair, and I have never been disappointed. THANK YOU, Julia!

    • Bindu, thanks so much for your kind words! I am so happy that you enjoy my words and pictures. I think the writing will come back to you in time. For most of my life it’s been in and out of my consciousness, but life often seems to make it almost impossible. I have never known whether I write because I am feeling happier, or I’m feeling happier because I am writing, but it does generally seem therapeutic for me. I remember loving dusk even as a child. In our neighborhood we (the kids) would often play “hide and seek” until dark, when the parents would come out gradually, one by one, and call their children to come home. I wonder whether we would have had such fun if we had access to video entertainment, computers and such. I’m glad we did not.

  3. Sheila

    Julia, ” until night pulls the shade completely down” is one of your most beautiful phrases, to me. Salty had a restless night so I’ve been up with him since 4:00. I read your lovely words before first light, closed my eyes, and went back to sleep for a short while. Sunbeams awoke me with Bill offering me java. It’s a beautiful day and I’m excited. How about you?

    • Hi Sheila, I hope Salty is better today! Our morning was a bit uneven with Matt’s ride being over an hour late (not unusual) which sort of throws the schedule off. Luckily we don’t have anything big planned. I’m hoping to have a productive day cleaning out some cabinets and maybe working in the yard if it doesn’t rain; it looks like it might. Sunbeams and java, a wonderful start to the day! I am enjoying it vicariously through your comment! Thanks so much for stopping by this morning!

      • Sheila

        Back in the day, when “it was what it was” a few gals would get together for “jeans and java” time. I’ll check with you later. Save a little work for tomorrow! Sheila

        • Never a problem with having enough work tomorrow! 🙂 Hee-hee. Time for a cuppa, I’ll pretend you’re here enjoying it with me!

  4. Michael Bertoglio

    Beautiful piece of writing -Julia. Unfortunately, in our neighborhood sometimes the evenings are punctuated by gunfire. This last year has seen an epidemic of gun violence in Seattle, for some reason. Fortunately, we have a beach cabin retreat where we can enjoy evening strolls. This is on the Pacific coast-near Aberdeen.
    I have lots of weeds in our garden patch if you run out. Record temps. in Seattle this week-86 yesterday– and the weeds are loving it.

    • Wow, Mike, I am so sorry to hear that Seattle’s been hit with violence. I hope it subsides soon, and I’m glad you have a retreat where you can escape. I wonder if the heat has anything to do with the crime? I’ve always heard there’s a correlation between the two. I’d love to do some west coast weeding, but right now I’m too far behind with the ones here. Jeff and I worked outside yesterday and I loved every minute of it. I don’t know why I find it so satisfying to pull weeds, but perhaps it’s because that’s one of the few things I do that produces instant results! Hope things cool down a bit for you there. We’re unseasonably cool here, and it’s wonderful.

  5. Jenelle

    Julia, such beautiful words. Bindu is right. This read like a poem. Keep running the race! You blog truly is a gift 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Jenelle! I really appreciate the kind words. Evening is so beautiful that it’s a great inspiration for writing, but elusive to capture in words. I’m glad you like what I wrote about it. Thanks for visiting here, and for your comments!

  6. Gorgeous writing Julia. I so enjoyed our walk together 😉 Oh yes, I was right there beside you and maybe even picked a weed or two to help 😀 I especially loved “reluctant to leave the enchantment until night pulls the shade completely down”.

    • Thank you! Maybe I’ll join you tonight in CA for stroll on the west coast! Seriously, I am so glad you are having a great time. Thanks for making the time to stop in and visit here!

      • You are so little, you would have blown away today Julia. We walked around the piers at Fisherman’s Warf and out for dinner. Tomorrow is to be warmer though and we love our B&B in North Beach. Across from Washington Square Park and kitty corner to the Cathedral. Great that everything is close. We are planning to do the Red Bus tomorrow. Hope you’re having a great week in Virginia, we are on opposite coasts but it still feels close xK

        • I well remember those stiff winds. The warmest month in San Francisco is usually October. It’s amazing how much the weather changes within a short drive! It is so cool that you are staying in North Beach. I used to go to the little library there and the shops, cathedral, shrine of St. Francis, etc. When we moved back east there was a controversy about the church bells at Peter and Paul (the cathedral) – a handful of residents were trying to get them banned from ringing but most seemed to love hearing them, as I did. I wonder if they still ring? I used to get the BEST polenta at Pasta Pomodoro right near where you are staying. I hope you will get to see Golden Gate Park, and be sure to stroll through the Marina (one of my favorite neighborhoods there; if I was super rich I’d have a little flat there 🙂 ) and stroll past the Palace of Fine Arts which is not a museum, but a structure left from the 1915 Exposition. If you ride the Cable Cars, the California line is less crowded – it’s almost like a roller coaster taking those hills! Thanks for keeping in touch on your trip!

  7. Michael Bertoglio

    Yes-weeding is instant gratification. Though right now in my yard the weeds are winning and I think about covering it all with Round Up to start over.
    Ikeep thinking you all are in San Francisco. You are in the Carolinas? My wife’s niece is now in Norfolk. Going back to NYC in June to visit grandkid.
    Really enjoying Conroy book and he has chapters on two other books I have not read- Wolfe’s-“Look Homeward Angel.” and also War and Peace. He is also a great fan of Dickey’s poetry whom he lists as his mentor.

    • Hi Mike, we lived in northern California from 1999-2004 and used to go into San Francisco quite a bit, so I have lots of photos from there. We live in Virginia now, relatively close to the Carolinas. I’ll definitely have to look for Conrad’s book in my local library. Happy weeding! the season is now upon us and I’ve been doing at least a little each day.

  8. Sheila

    Julia, I missed my email this morning, so I went online and can only surmise there was a glitch in today’s blog. To say I am spoiled to your posts is an understatement! I look forward to tomorrow. Hope you’ve enjoyed a good day. Sheila

    • Hi Sheila, today’s post was a bit late because I had a typo in the scheduled time, but it should have been there by about 9:00 am EST, so you should be able to see it. Did you not get an email later that day? If not, SO SORRY! The post was actually scheduled two weeks ago and I just didn’t notice that I had the time wrong. I’ll check more closely from here on in. I’m glad you missed us although I’m sorry we were late. Thanks for checking in! Let me know if you can’t find today’s post, and whether you got the email.

      • Sheila

        Julia, not to worry! I’ll bet tomorrow will have everything back as scheduled. It could even have been my glitch. Two blondes… who knows! Thank you for the reply, though. Sheila

        • Hey, I didn’t know you were a blonde…no wonder we have more fun (I hope you are old enough to remember THAT commercial!) 🙂

  9. Sheila

    We haven’t exchanged birthdays yet, but I do remember that commercial. I’m afraid to admit to the Breck Shampoo ads, though. It’s ok if you don’t remember! Haha!

    • Mostly what I remember about Breck was the portraits of women with gorgeous hair; the “Breck girls.” I do remember the pearl in the Prell bottle, though!

      • Sheila

        I think we have discussed pearls once before. They are so classic! I have two strands because I lost my original ones and Bill replaced them. You guessed it… I found them where they had been overlooked in my searching. Uh oh! Prell green, you have to love it. Thinking of you as I rest. Sheila

        • Hmmm, that’s a good way to get a spare set of pearls! I lost the diamond out of my engagement ring, but unfortunately we never did find it so I just have the replacement. Do they even make Prell anymore? Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!


  1. To west of West | Defeat Despair

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: