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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Monday, December 12, 2011

The color hour in winter

That would be 4:00 pm, when the sun goes down and the sky in the east, out over the islands, turns subtle shades of blue and indigo and violet and even a little red, and if you look closely, you'll see them all in the water too. That would be 4:00 pm, when green turns to gray, gray to black. 4:00 pm, when there's little left to look at on the bay, no boats, an occasional flash of white gull in a shaft of sun, or a few hardy ducks still diving, when you look back at what you've accomplished during the day and it seems a glowing golden edifice, or a black heap of ashes, or (more commonly) an average piece of granite on the shore, a little pink if you're lucky. At 4:00 pm the stock markets close, and it is permitted to see if you're in the red or in the black. It's the time you sink into a brown funk or soar into an azure high, until a silvery drink and a creamy cheddar level the world again. But most of all it's a time to stare at the sea, at the surf breaking in white necklaces, at the surface of the water turning from blue to match the purples of the sky, at the bluing patterns of the breezes, at the edges of the island where the water is a calm blush or a ruffled pink, depending on the direction of the wind. The ocean is that most perfect of oxymorons, an ever-changing constant. Every day's color is a different show, or sometimes no show at all, just a quick graying into night - except that deep in the bay light and color and the concerns of humans do not reach at all.

Soon it will be time to turn on harsh electric lights. Or maybe I'll just sit on for a while in the dark, waiting for the full orange moon to rise.

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