Before the Light Fails

I have been struggling all week to find words for the emotions stirred by a yellowish twilight that came one evening at sundown, after a day of rain. It does not invoke despair, like Emily Dickinson’s  certain Slant of light. But it does cause me to pause whatever I am doing, to stand at the window and simply gaze.

When I was a child, my mother brought home a painting she had fallen in love with, and hung it on our livingroom wall. It was a street scene in an English village, all somber grays: gray stone row houses on a gray cobbled street that was wet with rain. Uphill from the houses stood a gray stone church, from a window of which shone a rectangle of yellow light. If I saw this picture again today, I might dismiss it as sentimental. But what caught my mother’s attention, and what makes me remember it now, is that the artist captured that moment of otherness as a storm clears, when we see beyond the everyday world, that strange and solemn moment before the light fails.

One Response to “Before the Light Fails”

  • There is something otherworldly about this kind of light. Always, when the light is unusual, it makes me realise how small and helpless we are. The world is putting on a different face from its usual one. It’s a bit like seeing your mother wearing a mask.

Leave a Reply