November 01, 2006

Night

camp evening

During long summer days at my parents' camp, night time comes slowly. After supper, we have all kinds of time to sit at the picnic table and linger over coffee or tea, devouring bags of cookies. My father and I might go off for an evening sail, or I might ask my mother to go canoeing. Someone will get up a game of bocce or frisbee golf. Sometimes I'll go for a long walk with my husband, giving us some quiet time together away from the kids. More restless members of the family might take a ride into town, usually with the aim of replenishing the cookie supply and filling up our water containers at the spring. Always someone claims a spot in the hammock, a peaceful place to rest a sunburned body.

Even as we gather around the firepit, everyone jockeying to get a good spot, sunlight still drops peacefully down through the oak branches. My sisters bring books or magazines with them as they pull their chairs closer to the circle, and the guitar players will be looking at sheet music, talking about songs. Some of the kids will take one last swim off the dock.

Eventually, of course, the sun does descend to the horizon, turning the sky and the bay into a brilliant red. Our camp faces west over the river, and the sunsets are gorgeous. But even after the brilliant colors fade, nothing is dark quite yet. The sky will be a deepening blue color, with visible clouds and light reflecting off still water. Often I'll walk away from the raucous crowd at the fire to go stand on the dock and admire the way the familiar scene gradually turns into dark silhouettes.

By the time darkness finally does envelope the landscape, with the flames of the firepit lighting the faces of family members as they joke or sing or play games, I am comfortably tired. Worn out from swimming and sailing and hiking, filled with a whole day of summer sun, I am ready for the darkness, ready to disappear into my small tent with my husband.

It's hard not to think of this in early November, when the days have gotten so suddenly short. I come home, check my email, think about supper, build a fire in the fireplace, read with With-a-Why for a little while – and suddenly, I look up to notice that it has happened again; all the windows are dark, our house plunged without warning into night.

13 comments:

Chip said...

yeah, at this time of year the sun is in the position in that photo by about 3:30 or 4pm! But in less than two months the days start getting longer again!

Aliki2006 said...

What a beautiful post--very evocative. Brings home to me, too, why I love this time of the year.

Holly said...

I've lurked about now and then, but rarely leave comments. This post triggered me though, it's beautiful. I love summer and don't love winter mostly because of the shortened days, so for me there was much nodding of the head in agreement of the images it evoked.

zelda1 said...

My last class is over at five and when I was coming home the sky was already losing its light and I went inside and the apartment was cold and by the time I got the heat going, and changed into warm comfy clothes, like you, I saw that it was dark. The dreary winter, which I love, begins.

Leslee said...

I feel so relaxed after reading about your summers at the camp. Yes, the days are shorter and nights are longer and more clothes are required. Soon though we'll be reading about your trips to snowpacked mountains. Can't wait to see what this winter holds for you!

Yankee, Transferred said...

I never tire of your writing.

Sara said...

It's always hard this first week after the fall back, to get adjusted to the new configuration of daylight. Especially on gloomy overcast days when it seems like its the black of night at 4 pm.

Anonymous said...

I actually love the coziness and intimacy of the early dark of fall and winter. There's a warmth to it, even when it's cold.

Kyla said...

You are amazing...your blog is my vacation from the real world. The way you paint pictures with words takes me far away from my reality. :)

Mouse said...

My last class on tuesday and thursday starts at 525, so I go in with sunset and come out at night, and I just love when I go in and the air is still a bit warm, but then I come out and the air is real crisp. Oh smiles :0)

Journey Mama said...

I'm feeling this lately, mourning the short days, remembering the long, warm, lazy evenings of summer when we sit around on one or another's porch and talk, or go for a swim in the river at 7:00 in the evening.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Fabulous photo!!!! I love the long days and warm nights of summer, and I am trying to remember the comforts of a snug fire and story time. I haven't adjusted yet to the colder weather; every year it takes a little longer.

optimization said...

This is a very fabulous photo! you are very good in photography! you might as well like to become a professional photographer. You have captured its beauty!