Friday, July 08, 2022

Friday Ramble - The Burnished Light of Summer Nights

Ah, sweet July, great rounds of baled hay in the eastern Ontario highlands, deer and wild turkeys feeding under the trees at dawn and dusk, shadows stretching long skinny fingers across farm fields at the end of the day, the setting sun viewed through strands of ripening timothy, alfalfa and tall white bush clover...

The shadows slanting across pastures lengthen, grow sharper and deeper as days become shorter, and as if to compensate for waning daylight hours, northern sunsets turn intense: crimson, fiery gold, inky blue and purple skies, perfect molten light and technicolor clouds.

The evening sun flames amazement as it drops below the horizon. I've always loved the words "I flamed amazement", spoken by the playful spirit Ariel in Shakespeare's The Tempest - they seem just right for an evening in early July when the setting sun is putting on a fine show. Is there magic? Oh yes...

Darned if I can figure out why, but a few lines from Robert Graves' interpretation of Câd Goddeu (The Battle of the Trees) in the 14th century Welsh Book of Taliesin linger in my sconce. In that poem, the legendary enchanter Gwydion summoned an army of trees to do his bidding and go into battle on his behalf. The poem probably inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to create the Ents and Huorns (tree folk) of Fangorn forest and send them to destroy Isengard in the second volume of the Lord of the Rings. Not having read Câd Goddeu in at least fifty years, I am surprised that I remember anything at all of that epic (to say nothing of abstruse) work, but remember it I do. Perhaps it is the astonishingly beautiful way in which the words evoke the vastness and grandeur and mystery of the cosmos. The whole thing is a glorious cantrip from start to finish.

"I know the light whose name is Splendour,
And the number of the ruling lights
That scatter rays of fire
High above the deep."

Beau and I lean against a fence at sunset, and our camera and recording lens can scarcely take in all the riches on offer. The setting sun dazzles the eyes, and the waxing moon is as lustrous as a great cosmic pearl; she seems lit from within. I know the moon has no light of her own and borrows it from the sun, but it always seems otherwise at this time of the year.

Big life stuff or not, just how fortunate can one old hen feel at times like these? The fabulous sundown light is enough to make one swoon in delight.


christinalfrutiger said...

beautiful photo, beautiful words!

thelma said...

Thanks for the memory ramble.