the purple haze ...

of twilight ~

stealths silently across the land ...

February Twilight
Sara Teasdale

I stood beside a hill

Smooth with new-laid snow,

A single star looked out

From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature

That saw what I could see--

I stood and watched the evening star

As long as it watched me.

This is a ridiculous story: Yesterday evening as Paul and I were driving to stay with Austin for a bit, we had a somewhat meaningless discussion about the difference between twilight and dusk. Did you know that twilight means the sun is 6 degrees lower in the sky than when the sun sets in the sky? The sun is considered set just after it dips below the horizon; once it has dipped 6 degrees below the horizon, it is known as twilight; dusk is what you see just before it's dark, i.e. after twilight but before dark.

You may wonder why we had this dumb conversation. Well, it has to do with an incident involving Stephen many, many years ago. He was shooting photos of deer at the Jefferson Barracks Cemetery. It's a long story that I shall leave for another day; suffice it to say the U.S. Marshall's definition of dusk and Webster's definition of dusk have nothing in common. To put it simply, the U.S. Marshall needs to brush up on the difference between twilight and dusk - as the cemetery closes at dusk not twilight. But just a bit of advice here: do NOT try to explain the difference in meaning to a U.S. Marshall; it will only serve to make matters worse. It is obvious to me in the image "Twilight Calm" that the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon, but it is not yet dusk. Can you tell?

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