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BLUE NIGHTS (Excerpt)

Memoir by Joan Didion

In certain latitudes there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue. This period of the blue nights does not occur in subtropical California…but it does occur in New York…. You notice it first as April ends and May begins, a change in the season, not exactly a warming—in fact not at all a warming—yet suddenly summer seems near, a possibility, even a promise. You pass a window, you walk to Central Park, you find yourself swimming in the color blue: the actual light is blue, and over the course of an hour or so this blue deepens, becomes more intense even as it darkens and fades, approximates finally the blue of the glass on a clear day at Chartres…. The French call this time of day “l’heure bleue.” To the English it is “the gloaming…” During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come….

Painting: “Ladder to the Moon” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1958)