I shall be musing in the twilight in this blog. The twilight is where I live, twilight is who I am in my being, twilight is my existence. The view is unique in twilight: shadows play differently based on the angle of illumination; features are, or or not, enhanced; things feel less rigid as the transition from day to night, one to the other, pass.
To explain this further, I am pulling from an essay I wrote a few years ago below:
I am a multifaceted person, as most folks are. One of my facets is photography, which started from a Polaroid camera gifted to me when I finished 8th grade. In the 25-plus years since, it’s become a semi-pro hobby. Light completely changes the character of a photo. The best photos are not taken at high noon or in the dark of night. The photos with the most character are often taken in the moments of twilight; sunrises, sunsets, or not far from.
Some of my other facets include that I am Catholic; a scientist, (an engineer, to be precise); a musician; an actor; an outdoorsman; a literary critic; a mentor; an amateur theologian and historian…a bit of a modern day renaissance man, perhaps. I am also a transman, also known as a female-to-male transsexual. That’s the facet that has tended to be problematic for myself and for others. I have always been male, but, when I was young, I was not always consistently been seen as such, in fact, there were constant expectations made by those who ‘knew better’ for me to be someone I wasn’t. I never met those expectations.
Now, there is no mistaking that I am male, so that facet, which used to be a blinding, disabling part of my daily existence, is a now a shadowy part of my history. Or, so it would seem to most casual observers once they are made aware of my past. Shadows have substance. Light has meaning. “You are your history.”
I once attended a lecture by a Rabbi regarding Jewish tradition and gender. The Hebrew language in the Talmud allows for six different genders. Obviously, this included people who were born physically intersexed. The Rabbi explained that Hebrew thought and language makes allowances for things that are neither one nor the other, such as day and night, which was important in many ways, including defining the parameters of the Sabbath. The language for the other genders that were not fully male or female was akin to the language that defines twilight…not the fullness of day or night, but a beautiful space in between that is both and neither, but distinct, beautiful, and of God.
The photographer in me has seized that concept – I am twilight, I am a sunrise, I am a sunset. I am not a weed to be pruned. I am not “less than.” I am my history; I contain the shadows and the light of what I have seen. I am a physical living embodiment of that moment that allows for striking images, fleeting visions and perspectives that are not possible during the fullness of day or night. I am of God and I have beauty in this world that can only be viewed by those who choose to seek it.
I have perspectives that may be different because my lenses have different shapes, speeds, and filters on them. I approach things from different angles. I view things with an eye towards the beauty and timelessness they present to me. I capture and paint with the light I see. These things shall comprise my twilight musings. I invite you to join me on the journey.
The two twilight images in this post were taken in the same park, not too far away from each other, twelve minutes apart.
P.S. for the full text of the above essay, Not Limelight, but Twilight, it is published on the Catholic Fortunate Families website, here.
P.P.S. May, 2019. The link above has gone to a 404. While St. Anthony is looking, here’s another location where the full essay is published.