August - Nature's Vespers
I first learned of the blue hour from Maria Popova’s weekly newsletter, The Marginalian, when she showcased a beautifully illustrated children’s book, The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler. Luckily, it was in our library system, so I picked it up and used it for meditation since it so easily tuned me in to that ethereal time of day called twilight, also the traditional time for Vespers.
Since then, I learned that the blue hour is a beloved time of day for photographers, poets, artists, musicians! Many are as inspired by that sacred time as I am. I also learned that it is a very specific time, occurring twice daily, just before sunrise and after sunset when the sun is far enough below the horizon that blue rays dominate, turning the sky a stunning shade of blue unlike at any other time of day. In the evening it occurs at least ten minutes after sunset and lasts between 20 and 40 minutes, so "hour" is not accurate, but makes for a memorable name.
Making the connection to the liturgical hour of Vespers, I decided that the next night I would set up my chair under the sky and be present for the blue hour in its entirety. Since I had also discovered online the very lovely instrumental Hymn to a Blue Hour by John Mackey, I used it to enhance my ritual, adding it to the music of katydids, frogs and birds. What a delightful way to transition from the work of the day to the calm and peace of night. What an opportunity to allow myself to be carried into a bigger world, the world of stars, galaxies, universe, and the larger numinous Presence suffusing all. Along with the ambience of the blue hour, I used this line from Thomas Berry as a mantra:
At every moment we are experiencing
the overwhelming mystery of existence.
Since becoming aware of the blue hour, I find myself waiting for its arrival each evening, enjoying the peace and quiet, pondering the wonder of this day of existence, gratefully.