Today, I wandered through the dark evergreens and bright moss of Tentsmuir Forest down to the foaming sea. When the cold blue dawn is at 8:40 am and the gray twilight fades at 3:40 pm, you schedule your adventures for earlier in the day and save hot tea, fairy lights, and desk work for the dark evenings. After the bright whirl of exams, Advent is quiet, like the empty ballroom after a dance. We’ve crossed the next threshold, past the first semester and into the first break.
This last contribution to the Thresholds project is by Jordan Kaiser, a lovely fellow student at St. Andrews who is exploring Medieval Studies. Jordan is one of those fascinating people who reawaken you to the magic and mystery of this world: astronomy, artwork, theoretical physics, legends, poetry, medieval medicine, and so much more. Her contribution explores thresholds of night/day, land/sea, sky/earth, and more, and left me with that same resonating joy you get after a symphony or a feast. Enjoy!
by Jordan Kaiser
The Sun has fallen just below the rim
Of the horizon. Gold-splashed buildings glow
As in farewell, while sea and sky grow dim;
The geometrical center of the sun’s disk has reached six degrees below the horizon. The sky is still fairly well lit, although lights are switching on in the town. Clouds towards the west are edged with gold and brushed with shades of rose and amethyst. The sea is the color of oxidized bronze—verdigris green—and flocks of gulls dot its surface like pearls. Its foamy fringe rolls against the rocky shoreline. November’s daylight hours may be short, but they shine like the last of the golden leaves scattered on the pavement.
So Dusk spills ink into the sea below
And in the East a moon of opal turns
The bay to silver. Daylight ebbs. Tides flow
The geometrical center of the sun is between six and twelve degrees below the horizon. A band of lighter blue lingers in the west. The moon climbs higher along its arc as the sky deepens to a blue that blends with the edge of the sea. Shining through a wisp of cloud, the moon has a ring of green and red refracted light, like the stain left when a drop of water falls on ink and makes it run. The brightest stars and planets reveal themselves now. White, green, and yellow lights gleam across the bay and on it. The seabirds are just shapes, now, though their cries are clear. The season’s tide in the northern hemisphere is washing out—rushing to the lowest point and shortest day of the year.
And Mars above the ruined towers burns
Carnelian red. Now fires and window-lights
Brush gold on Evening’s edges. Night returns.
The geometrical center of the sun has fallen between twelve and eighteen degrees below the horizon. The sea is almost invisible—lost in a wash of velvety indigo—except where lights mark out its fringes. There’s almost always a bonfire on the beach, a faint echo of the glittering stars. The smoke drifts up from the shore, adding its fragrance to the sharp vinegar tang of washed-up seaweed. Windows are well-lit. Their panes frame figures like icons painted on gold leaf. The cathedral’s towers loom above a quiet cemetery. In town, the bells mark the time.
Jordan is a reader, writer and amateur adventurer who loves Old Things and Curious Things and places that hide secrets. Expert road-tripper. She was homeschooled from first grade through high school. She started writing poetry when she was five and didn’t know what she was doing. She wrote her first story when she was eight and thought she knew what she was doing. She’s kept two different travel blogs (one in high school, one in college). Above all, her faith and her family keep her anchored. True love fights dragons. To read more of her work, visit her website at https://wordsmithkaiser.wordpress.com/.