When evening falls, the colors of the summer sky shift and swirl with brush strokes of cerulean blue, apricot, and ammonite. The surface of the river shimmers, life above and life below. The faintest breeze moves through the shore grasses, and peace drops down like soft summer rain.
When evening falls, friends congregate on the porch and laughter and conversation float down the street through the still summer air. Fireflies wink and glow; candles are lit. The porch swing creaks a gentle rhythm, the rocking chair keeps time, the screen door swings open and shut providing just a hint of percussion. Good friends and good wine in equal proportion.
When evening falls, we remember the ones no longer here, their absence like shadows in the moonlight.
When evening falls, there is that lovely moment my Scottish forebears called “the gloaming,” the heartbeat between day and night; twilight, dusk, eventide. The gentlest hour of the day.
When evening falls, I tend to think about all the things I’ve done during the day and all the things I’ve left undone.
When evening falls, the street lamps blink on one by one, casting circular pools of light among the sycamores that line our quiet street. A family walks by, heading for the ice cream store or just taking the kids out for an evening stroll before bedtime.
When evening falls, the stars, like happy children, come out to play. I gaze up into the darkening sky and the wonder of it all takes me by the hand and leads me home.
When evening falls, I think of you. I held your warm, tiny hand.
When evening falls, my memories are magnified. Once, I walked in Jerusalem. Another time, I paddled my canoe down a serene Canadian lake, the moon and the stars were my only companions.
When evening falls, the birds fall silent. The house wrens who have made a nest in the rafters of the porch settle in for the night. A dog barks; a cat scurries down the sidewalk. The bunny rabbits in the field across the street chew their clover.
When evening falls, our senses take over. We smell the baking bread, the grilling meat. We listen to the silence. We touch the gathering darkness. We taste the remains of the day.
When evening falls, we speak of tomorrow. We make our plans and count our blessings.
When evening falls, the bell in the clock tower chimes another passing hour, another day almost done.
“When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you. I’ll take your part. When darkness comes and pain is all around, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.” (Paul Simon)
“O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done; then Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.” (John Henry Newman)
I’ll be right back.
Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer who lives in Chestertown. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy Magazine.
His new novel “This Salted Soil,” a new children’s book, “The Ballad of Poochie McVay,” and two collections of essays (“Musing Right Along” and “I’ll Be Right Back”), are available on Amazon. Jamie’s website is Musingjamie.net.