August, being rich arrayd
…in August in Mississippi there’s a few days somewhere about the middle of the month when suddenly there’s a foretaste of fall, it’s cool, there’s a lambence, a soft, a luminous quality to the light, as though it came not from just today but from back in the old classic times. It might have fauns and satyrs and the gods and—from Greece, from Olympus in it somewhere. It lasts just for a day or two, then it’s gone. . .the title reminded me of that time, of a luminosity older than our Christian civilization.
— William Faulkner
I was glad to stumble across this quote; I’ve seen the light he describes and have been chasing a way to describe it for years. The shadows fall just a certain way and the light takes on a sort of golden rosiness. It’s natural counterpart is a similar moment in an afternoon of late winter, and only in the woods. The lowering sun will illuminate some patch of moss, brilliant gold light on intense green against all the brown earth, snow and ice around it. It might still be frigid cold, but here’s the barest hint of spring and rebirth. Heading into fall there’s that one day you look up and the sky is has taken on that cobalt blue of fall, no matter how warm it still is outside. For spring it’s usually the first time I spot an insect; some tiny thing flying into a new world.
These little moments - almost like thin places, but in time - speak to us clearly in their silence and beauty, as if some ancient part of us reads these signs and responds in kind. This, we think, is what that poem or song was talking about. Here’s what that painter was trying to capture just so. Of course it is.