ON THE SMALL HOURS
I was awake until 4am recently and the nights are short in summer so the dawn creeps in slowly, almost imperceptibly, until you notice a strange glowing silver light in your bedroom. Not the powerful, glorious, golden light of the fiery dawns of the East, but a soft, silver, early hour light, the half-light of poems and the North. It occurred to me that the East has no real twilight; sunset is dramatic and fast, the sun goes out with a flash and in the blink of an eye night has fallen, changing as quickly as the slides in my ViewMaster. But the North has a special light; the half-light, the twilight, between sunset and late evening, a soft curtain falling to whisper the end of the day and a gentle transition to usher in the night.
Pale and interesting!
Yeats is entirely appropriate here:
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
There is no line in this poem that is not perfectly beautiful. When I read it I imagine the heavens as a revolving dome and the different casts of light falling as majestic, slow curtains. The setting is a theatre. Finally I imagine a poor, kind, yet noble man, despite his hardship, trying to do his very best for the woman he loves. I imagine not blue cloths but a gorgeous red carpet being unrolled for the lucky lady to step on. This could also be me.
Silver is beautiful. My year this year has been characterised by gold, and gold has been gaining in importance since I have been doing islimi, but silver is beautiful. Gold is the Renaissance era, both 15th-century Italian and 12th-century Islamic, or ancient Aryan India or Persia, martial Rome, Mayan, Aztec, early Christianity or brash modern China. Our wedding and the birth of our son were white and gold. Beginnings are golden. What era is silver? The Decadent era, the late 1800s, the turn of the century perhaps; silver implies endings. The silver screen maybe; silent films.
Caspar is gold.
At the last minute, Caspian is silver.
The sea can be silvery blue.
I love gold and have done so ever since I met my husband. Gold is masculine and silver is feminine and they complement each other. Gold is ‘the best material’ – he taught me never to settle for less. He says, incidentally, that gold as a metal suits me better whereas in the past I always thought silver suited me more. Now I think that my olive skin actually suits both gold and silver; gold brings out the gold already in my skin and silver offsets the dark tone in it. My growing love of gold somehow parallels the rise of self-confidence in my life as I get older. But I am starting to notice silver coming back into my life. The colour of the night is silver in our bedroom. Silver of the fairy lights, of the mirrored reflections reminiscent of the jamkhane (mirrored room of the jamkhane, rooms of collection of the Shahs of the past, like cabinets of curiosities), of the iPhone screen as I type, of the tentative Northern dawn, of the general light cast in the room and of my sleeping husband’s hair. Silver, far from being secondary, is equally important to gold. All hail the night!
As a combination, one could have white gold ~