Yesterday, I left work at that point in a February afternoon when the sun has just begun to go down, and the horizontal shadow creeping upward toward dusk was still below the tops of the trees. One long, golden line of late light, bright and rich and warm.
My commute takes me eastward, away from the sun itself, but hurtling toward its last light, and takes me across the highest hill in the region. Climbing that ascent, I came into the light still un-shadowed. There is a traffic signal at the top of this hill, and as we sat while it was red, the sun sunk enough that that line of shadow had risen up almost to the top of the trees atop this long, high hill. It grew indistinct and diffuse, ruddy and so soft the shadow of the earth was no longer clear.
And yet, plunging down the hill was not the descent into evening. Not quite yet.
The sky holds on to the sun's light even after its rays are no longer directly available. Humidity, pollution, the magic of physics. The lee of the hill was not the dark side of the day.
But ten minutes later, on the last straight line of asphalt, the final approach to my house, the light had been switched off the Earth, the homes, the trees. Only the lingering glow - and trees now all but emitting darkness, bringing night to a sky still in denial.
The moon appeared as if from nowhere.
Home, and parked, my yard is a place unmolested by the traffic going on behind me.
In the kitchen window, Gossamer peeps out, because he knows when I get home. And, at the back door, he snoots at me from the counter and Penelope greets me as well.
And I am home ...
... and it is dusk.