Tag Archives: blue hour

How I am weathering the pandemic, part ii

I’ve moved to New England for school. First, I am so happy for the temperature change. We had a heat wave here that rivaled the hot, tropical temperatures of Puerto Rico. Now that heat wave seems to have dissipated and given way to a few days of weather in the 70s. I am building a new life now, from scratch, in the middle of a pandemic. So what has changed?

  1. I order food to be delivered. Usually from Flour Bakery. I’m a big fan of their croissants and salads.
  2. I go for evening walks. Due to the temperature change, I am now back to doing what I love the most: going for walks at the blue hour. I really enjoy the beautiful teal colors of dusk and having time to think. These walks are very meditative and introspective. I also need the exercise, which I haven’t been able to do since March 2020.
  3. To Uber or Lyft or public transportation? This hasn’t changed. There is no way I’m getting into an Uber or Lyft or the subway or a bus during this time. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m terrified of the Delta variant and I’m not in the mood to be ensconced in a place with re-circulated air. That being said, I have a dinner to attend to next Tuesday evening, and it’s too far of a walk. So I’ll have to take a Lyft. I’m not looking forward to this. I hope the Lyft driver will allow for lowered windows.
  4. To mask outside or to not mask outside? The governor of my state has declared that you can walk outside without a mask if you’ve been vaccinated, and to then wear masks inside buildings. I disagree. How do I know that people who are going unmasked outside have been vaccinated? What if there are some anti-vaxxers lurking? And then, the other day, someone sneezed a horrendous sneeze in public without a mask. I actually saw the droplets leave his mouth. No thanks. I will wear a mask outside, thank you. The curious thing is: I get judgmental looks from people outside who are not wearing masks, which I think is ridiculous. No matter, I don’t care.
  5. I’m taking a class on Buddhism and spiritual caregiving. I’ve discovered a beautiful class at the nearby divinity school on Buddhism and spiritual caregiving. I’ve decided I’m going to take this class to: 1) deepen my knowledge of Buddhism, and 2) to have a respite during the week from my other classes, which are requirements.
  6. Keep reading as much as I can. Books, books, and more books. One of the few good things about this pandemic is that I’ve read an extraordinary amount of books, and that’s thanks to my book club.

Blue Hour and W. B. Yeats: Tuesday, August 20, 2019

It is now one of my two favorite times of the day: twilight. Celtic lore holds that the “veil” between the human world and the fairy world “lifts” during these magical times of day, allowing for fairies to be seen by humans. I’ve investigated what gives twilight its magical blue color in the sky. It turns out that during morning and evening twilight, the Sun is from 4 to 8 degrees beneath the horizon. During these times, the Sun’s blue wavelengths dominate because the ozone layer absorbs the  yellow, orange, and red parts of the light spectrum. This kind of absorption is known as the Chappuis absorption, named after the French chemist James Chappuis. As a result, a magical teal color dominates the sky. The sun sets pretty late here in Barcelona, at aroun 9 p.m. I say late because I’m used to the sun setting at 6:30 p.m. in Puerto Rico, where I’m from. Photographers love to take photos during the blue hour because the blue light is magnificent, as you can see here. It’s almost as if they’re hoping to catch a fairy.

W.B. Yeats once wrote: “At Howth, a great colony of otherworld creatures travel nightly.” The Irish Times has a great article about fairies still living in the Irish imagination. From the article and being quoted from Irish Fairies (1890) by W.B. Yeats:

“When I tell people that the Irish peasantry still believe in fairies, I am often doubted. They think that I am merely trying to weave a forlorn piece of gilt thread into the dull grey worsted of this century. They do not imagine it possible that our highly thought of philosophies so soon grow silent outside the walls of the lecture room, or that any kind of ghost or goblin can live within the range of our daily papers. If the papers and the lectures have not done it, they think, surely at any rate the steam-whistle has scared the whole tribe out of the world. They are quite wrong. The ghosts and goblins do still live and rule in the imaginations of the innumerable Irish men and women, and not merely in remote places, but close even to big cities. 

At Howth, for instance, ten miles from Dublin, there is a ‘fairies path’, whereon a great colony of otherworld creatures travel nightly from the hill to the sea and home again.”