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I encountered this firsthand as I walked Kettle Cove with my mom. Until then, my feeling toward the state of Maine was an objective appreciation. I could appreciate the different beauty, the food scene, the woods; but it didn’t set my soul a-singing. I suspected that my Mom was hoping I’d catch Maine fever and abandon paradise for the Cape, but so far I was nonplussed. So we went for a stroll on a nearby beach, and then 3:30 struck.
I noticed our shadows first. Long, lean, dramatic, we were giants on a pebble-strewn beach. Then I started to look at the pebbles: stark white, soft grey quartz, some almost orange-pink – I put seven in my pocket. When the waves receded they left trails behind each pebble, the whole beach had a pattern to it, the wind moved through the tall grass making it bend, birds were harping, waves were hissing, and I – I was falling in love. I blame the light. It was that magic hour light, right before sunset, where everything is painted gold and new-looking. The sun sinks around 4pm here, by the way.
I think that hour is specifically designed for love. You stand no chance when everything sings romance around you. Even people look prettier. An average man at high noon seems a Lancelot at sunset. Currently I’m reading Right Ho, Jeeves and it would seem that Wodehouse would agree with me on the twilight hour:
…We had hit the great open spaces at a moment when the twilight had not yet begun to cheese it in favour of the shades of night. There was an end of sunset still functioning. Stars were beginning to peep out, bats were fooling round, the garden was full of the aroma of those niffy white flowers which only start to put in their heavy work at the end of the day – in short, the glimmering landscape was fading on the sight and all the air held was a solemn stillness, and it was plain that this was having the worst effect on her. Her eyes were enlarged, and her whole map a good deal too suggestive of the souls awakening for comfort.
Her aspect was that of a girl who was expecting something fairly fruity from Bertram.
Unfortunately the girl Bertram was strolling with looked like a fish, and was a smart as one too, so romance was more a danger than a desirable in that moment. I also felt danger, standing in that 3pm light, experiencing a mild civil war: I am loyal only to the sandy shores of Maui, not Maine! I cannot… I will not…but it’s so damn pretty…but it’s cold…not that cold, look, it’s a different shade of blue here. And those clouds. If felt like my “soul was awakened to comfort” and Maine was there with arms open and a bottle of champagne. Of course, I’m not looking to move here tomorrow, but I admit I’ve shifted from appreciation to adoration. That to say, if you’re not looking to fall in love with a place, don’t go for a pleasant walk in twilight.