A twilight world settles down as if asleep.

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A VG Serial: Hills of Eden

Episode 9

From this hill above the hollow, we have a private view of a constantly changing painting. This painting is not a canvas, but is composed of a minuscule portion of the Ozarks. There are far bluffs standing majestic above the tamed river that is now Bull Shoals Lake. There are two ridges converging on the lake, and the lake curves into infinity. The lake, in its day-life, assumes many colors and builds the fog-clouds that hide its long-kept secrets.

There is a dusk here like no other.

The lake accepts it and reflects its strange light like a mirror of time, like the surface impression of eternity. Now that the boats and fishermen have gone, now that the wind is down, it seems to be fashioned of bright metal for a moment as the last glow of sun limns the high ridges.

In a while, the lake will be hammered into dull pewter, the last image of this corner of earth to give up its light. Yet now the lake is fair of face, tranquil in its many depths, calm and confident of its own existence, its special swirl of timeless electrons.

The dusk begins building its shapes, its shadows, even as the last light hangs on, as the sun glides to a point between two peaks where it will blaze brilliantly one last time this day.

The deer move from the bedding grounds now, to the hardwoods. The crackle of snapped twigs reveals their movement above the hidden creek below our back porch. A whippoorwill tunes up, its fluting trills muffled by the leafed-out trees. A neighbor’s rooster crows in the distance, its disembodied voice echoing along the hollow. A thousand frog voices punctuate the echoes with an amphibian suddenness, a startling sound that carries over miles and centuries of water and earth. In the deeps, the fish swim like metal beings, silent, invisible.

Over the hills, acres of trees bleed olive-drab shadows from one last shot of sun. The lake is now a shimmering swirl of colors. On the porch here, a final bounce of light before fingers of dark touch, take hold. In the brush, a squirrel scurries to the safety of an oak before the night predators prowl and float. There is a quietness now, of life, of death.

Twilight comes on fast. The world seems to settle as if for sleep. The contours of the land blur and gentle as though a hand has smoothed the earth. The lake takes on the shadows of the bluffs. The trees draw back from the retreating light, graying with sudden age. The woods are full of whispers.

Dimness and susurrus, the frogs suddenly still, the littoral life quiet for a moment as the sun finally falls away this day. You can hear your heart beat, your own breathing, feel your pulse swell with the tide of deeper things beyond this moment.

In the backwash of this silence, an emptiness and a fullness: vestigial memories like the pages of bibles, the incomprehensible markings on scrolls and clay tablets, the scent of earthen jars, glimpses of cave paintings, inklings of far space, and mysterious beginnings.

Now that the twilight is here, I can understand some places I have been, some awesome sunsets I have lived through: west Texas jackrabbits romping through backlit evenings in dusty sage landscapes turning orange, catching fire; stripe-breasted Chukars whirling over rugged desert hills; owls floating off the carrier-decks of trees; doves landing in a whistle of wings on trembling tree branches; ducks falling into a pond like autumn leaves.

This is a good time to be alive. This is a good place to see and feel the night coming on. You can walk here without fear. In the big cities where the false lights come on automatically, your throat tightens, your stomach knots up, and you pull the curtains to shut out the nameless dread that rises up from the concrete, crackles in neon tubes like the frail bodies of electrocuted insects.

For a long moment, just before this corner of the world is drenched in darkness, there is a timelessness about everything the senses can grasp. There are no people, no sounds. There is no sign of civilization. There is only a deep hush, the dust of day hanging in the pale afterglow sky.

The sky turns dark, a lone star winks on. It is very quiet now, very beautiful.

The transition is complete. Perfect. And somehow, eternal.

Hills of Eden will be published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Please click the title, Hills of Eden, to read more about Jory Sherman and his books.

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