The Golden Hours

For photographers, the golden hours are immediately after sunrise and right before sunset. The angle of the sun imparts a quality both sharp and mellow, luminous and sentimental, to images created then. I’m aware of a golden hour quality in my life now, of the sunset variety.

Every time I go to the riding stable, I’m grateful that I can still sit on a horse. I might never look competent on the right lead canter again, but I can get into the saddle and be joyous nonetheless. When I plant my flowers in spring, I’m aware that a back problem, tight finances, who knows what, might mean next year’s flowers won’t be half so spectacular. In fact, my flowers might never be as grand again, so I enjoy them immensely while I have them.

I’m reading like nobody’s business these days, well aware that some of my readers have had to give up print books because failing eyesight required the enlargement options on an e-reader. Other readers have trouble reading as much as they’d like because even holding an e-reader can become challenging after a time. I’m not facing those limitations yet, and so I delight in each book I can physically read (even Churchill’s mammoth biography).

One of these years, I expect to get the lecture about Type II diabetes, and though I try to be conscientious about food choices, there’s little arguing with genetics. So I relish abundantly being able to have a dash of cream in my tea and that little square of dark chocolate at mid-day.

The pattern is one of loving well that which I must leave “ere long,” and while I’m aware that I’m in the second half of life, I feel as if the joy and wisdom of these later hours are more than compensation for any losses. I went to Australia and New Zealand last summer because I would probably never have that opportunity again. I’ll be in Paris later this month because of the same reasoning. Putting off adventures or challenges until they are more convenient isn’t my default strategy any more.

Maybe this is a phase, a golden hour before darkness falls, but it’s a happy phase and full of its own kind of wonder and discovery. At my present age, both of my parents still had thirty years of good living ahead of them. I hope for that kind of a sunset, and this recent upwelling of gratitude and focus means if I do get those years, they will be as wonderful as I can make them.

And if I don’t get those years, all the more reason to head off to Paris NOW.

What’s your next adventure or challenge? Is there one you’ve been putting off? Looking forward to? One you had to  give up on? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 e-gift card.


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16 comments on “The Golden Hours

  1. I am so aware that I am playing in the late stages of the second half,that I am heading for extra time because my life has been a draw.Equal amount of happiness and sadness.Equal loss and gain.It’s been a long and winding road,but what a journey,I have seen some beautiful countries,met fantastic people also come across nasty types of people who I felt gave nothing back to the world we live in.Nature to me is my constant,it surrounds me ,I live in a beautiful place that puts on a show most days.When she doesn’t I do housework otherwise I’m out there and enjoying all she offers.Contentment is what I have now but I am still up for a bit of travel while I can.So Grace enjoy Paris and all its history.We went many years ago.I could not get over how small the painting of the Mona Lisa was.So much to see.ENJOY.

  2. I would love to travel. Next year, I plan to travel to PA and VA to show my corgi Greg as a veteran. I would love to travel to London , Ireland & Scotland and am planning trip in 2021. I’d love to visits the museums but would love to go on a garden tour.
    I look at my 2 older corgis and think- I was in my 40’s when they were born…we’ve shared a lot in our time together. I see Laci — as maybe the corgi I get a versatile title on— and Greg as my partner in therapy work.
    So even though I am nearing retirement- there’s a lot to look forward to!
    Enjoy your trip to France- I hear the French chocolate is fabulous.
    And I adored Thorne & Margaret ‘s story!

  3. Life for me has become more of a challenge than an adventure- although I try hard to think of it in terms of being an adventure. I have to work harder to keep a positive attitude – but a lifetime of doing just that has been helpful.

    Enjoy Paris. I have many wonderful memories of that city.

    And thank you for all your books. I enjoy them so much.

  4. I enjoying redecorating–not just painting or new curtains and furniture–but figuring out the best way to LIVE in a room. If the colors or furniture bring me joy, that’s a start. Now I’m all about the FUNCTION when I used to be about the look.

    I mention this because that’s what I plan to do this summer–go room by room, and figure out the best way to make our home more functional. I’m not being inspired by that other Marie, but because our rooms have gotten more cluttered and less functional lately and its making me loony!

    I’ll have time between a couple of music obligations and vacations to get this project done. The whole project has to be mostly finished by mid-August when we have our 40th anniversary party–it’s not going to be a big deal, just an open house with our friends and family. I would like things more organized and if a bit of paint will help it FEEL better, we’re doing it.

    And Grace, its gonna be a challenge, especially convincing the biggest perpetrators to clean up their ACT!

  5. Love your Book’s a trip to Paris sounds wonderful. I’m not to travel now, but reading your Book’s takes me where you take me. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway

  6. “There’s a certain Slant of light… “

    Yes, it makes for beautiful pictures. I did one of my Europe by rail pass summers with a cousin, a photographer, and dreaded that light as often we had no place for the night. I would be begging for a spot to pitch a tent, waving my arms if necessary. Supper would be a can of ravioli, a pot of oatmeal or scrambled eggs.

    I am trying to see the beauty in ordinary days and seize that opportunities that may not come again, or that I may not be able for. I just lost a week to migraines, and while infrequent are not predictable or, for me, treatable. (I can manage some of the symptoms, not the causes.). “There is no pathology.”

    Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
    Yea, beds for all who come.

    I hope you have a comfortable bolt-hole in Paris.

  7. I’m the price of a new car from paying off my mortgage. Timed to coincide with an income drop as I roll to the pension the younger generation may never know. As long as I can pay the taxes, I’ll have a roof over my head. There’s a security in knowing I’ll never be at the mercy of a banker again.

  8. I have put off lots of things and will do so for several (I hope) more years. I am looking forward to a long weekend away to celebrate my upcoming big (you know, it ends in “0”) birthday at the end of the summer but otherwise have to stick close to home as I’m the medical and POA for my 90+ year old mother. I will probably also move back to the West Coast after she passes since I don’t really like Florida all that much. But it’s all okay since I did get to do lots of stuff in my younger years and Mom took care of me, of course, for my growing up years. I hope to travel again later.

  9. I just got back from my latest adventure a trip to Yosemite with my husband and friends. This time of year the waterfalls are plentiful and glorious! We were able to do several of the easier hikes of only a few miles. And we were lucky enough to make the drive up to Glacier Point before the road closed again because of more snow.

    We had started planning 2 week trip to Scotland this fall but have decided to put it off for another year. The bright side of the delay is that it will give us more time to decide on a travel plan since I would love to visit so much of the country that it would be impossible to spend significant time anywhere if we tried to go everywhere.

    Have a wonderful time in Paris, Grace!

  10. Paris! Tres bien madame! I am in that golden hour too and I want to be prepared, both by learning to enjoy every shining moment instead of letting them pass by unacknowledged, readying my soul for the eventual dying of the light. I had a health scare a month ago and I realized I am not spiritually, mentally, emotionally ready for the inevitable, so I have started journaling and reading. I want to be the wise old woman, not the fretful anxious one that nobody wants to be around. My mother died young and I realized years ago that one never knows – so don’t put off Paris, for example. I have been traveling on my little adventures but the inner adventure still needs work. We are lucky to have this golden time, and thank you for expressing what I am dimly grapping with.

  11. I really want to get some more travel in, I know there will eventually be an end to my easy mobility and it could be sooner than I think. I’d love to go back to some of the places I’ve been but feel the press of dwindling opportunities so I want to go to places I’ve never been bucket list style. If I get the chance New Zealand and Australia for an extended trip would be a dream come true. I have never been to South America either, if I had all the time and money in the world I would start at Peru and work my way around the continent.

    Enjoy Paris! My one tip is to take advantage of the evening hours at art museums, the tour buses and crowds are gone and you get peace and quiet and beautiful light to enjoy the art work.

  12. My husband is looking forward to retirement next year, and we will be heading south. We’ve lived in the Northeast all of our lives, and this will certainly be a new adventure! We’ve been looking at communities, homes, properties, house plans… our heads are spinning. We are hoping that with the move, and paying a lot less in taxes in our new home state, we might get to travel more – as well as enjoy more of the simple things that life has to offer. Time to be brave and embrace a new lifestyle and a new reality!

  13. Paris! A beautiful city which I’m sure you will enjoy.

    I was there many years ago as a chaperone with my church’s teenage choir’s concert tour. Thus a visit that was a double adventure! Keeping all that youthful energy aimed in the right direction while enjoying the sights. Oh, the memories!

    So sad you will not be able to see Notre Dame, the inside anyway. It’s another example of why one should try to follow dreams as soon as one can. Sacred Heart Cathedral on Montmartre should make a satisfactory ‘substitute!’

    Such a lovely time for a visit – it might not be “April in Paris” but “bon voyage et bonne chance!”

  14. Oh I’m in such an odd place. 55 with youngish parents but a dear friend with Alzheimer’s, newly single mother of an 11 year old. M next adventure is to live—to navigate this new reality and seize all the joy from it that I can, even if it comes slowly.

  15. Sorry you won’t get to see Norte Dame. But Paris is beautiful. Tuileries garden and left bank book sellers were a favorite 50 yrs ago. We spent 3 weeks driving New Zealand before Hobbits and got a lovely overview from the Great Barrier Reef to the mountains, forests, and fiords in the far south. We were on their equivalent of interstate and had to stop for sheep crossing the road. I plan to go to Bilbao, Spain to see the Guggenheim, wander old town and find some wine bars. Then east to Barcelona to see Gaudi’s designs in parks, houses, street signs, and the cathedral he designed and started. And while traveling between the two, enjoying the beautiful Basques region. I agree we should take opportunities to travel when we can. Just returned from fishing in the Arkansas river and hiking Hot Springs. I enjoy your books at night before going to sleep