Twilight’s last gleaming

Autumn time in Scotland, probably the most gorgeous season in this ancient country. Heading home from a hard days slog on my secondment at Ocean Terminal the sun was just setting across the harbour. By the time the bus rounded the base of Calton hill twilight had descended. Trees rapidly shedding leaves turned from emerald and gold to a deep, dark green as the shadows grew around them. Princes Street a few minutes later, running east to west, driving after the setting sun. It dipped below the horizon completely and the eastern sky was streaked in soft pinks and deep reds, stretching to a purple overhead, arcing back to the west and the darkening night sky slipping quietly in.

Looking down into the valley of Princes Street Gardens, the gathering darkness falling over the trees as if someone were putting a carbon coloured blanket over them for the night. The golden light was reflecting warmly off the stones of the Castle before the evening shadows spread across Castle Rock. A huge harvest moon was already in the sky, Diana barely waiting for Apollo to leave the heavens. On my shiny new MiniDisc the music from Edward Scissorhands, just perfect to go along with this scene. Golden twilight over the gardens and the Castle, a magical scene. No wonder people thought the land of Faerie was the land of eternal twilight. It’s a magical time of night, when the mundane day metamorphoses into mysterious night and enchanted creatures creep cautiously from hidden places. Truly, as Keat’s put it, autumn is “the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.”

And soon, oh so soon, this golden time of utter golden beauty will sip into the long, dark, cold Scottish winter. Icy winds coming up the Forth, driven across the North Sea from the Arctic. Eighteen hours or more of deep darkness. God I love it! I get S.A.D. in reverse – those long hours of pesky bright sunlight are depressing. Twilight and night-time are magical. Darkness promises mystery laced with danger. And today in the Metro I read about the latest dating sensation which is a restaurant with no electric lighting on, only candles. Nice and dark, flickering candlelight. I do my best work by candlelight; maybe I should put on my finest pirate shirt and go see if there are any nice vampy girls there?

Autumn leaves float to the ground

As our planet orbits round and round

Golden carpet of crunching leaves

Shadows stretching over the eves

Endless turning, endless seasons

We try so hard to give them reasons

But no reason have i ever found:

The Earth turns ever to her own sound

The drumbeat is life