Almost any time of day is wonderful; every time is wonderful really, but my favorite time of day is the late afternoon right before the sun goes down. If the day has been clear the afternoon light is golden. It seems as though I can see every blade of grass, every leaf, every piece of bark clearly and distinctly. Colors seem brighter, clearer, as some things get lit up from behind. Oftentimes (always?) the wind has died down too, so that everything is still, and in sharp focus. This is by far my favorite time of day, as I’m almost never up for fresh early mornings. The only other “time of day” which rivals it is when I get my first glimpse of the thinnest new moon.

Judy Goldstein
Durham, North Carolina

There is not enough of morning. Its gift of sunrise grants an early promise of newness and another chance. My body is rested, my mind is clear, my spirit receptive. I sometimes wish that all of life could be morning.

The early hours join me in recapturing unique parts of the day. These best moments emerge from behind the clock. As they transcend time the flash is suddenly, simply there. It can come from a tone of voice, some gesture, a starling attacking the suet, a certain expression in a letter. Such moments race with the sun as it changes the sky, creating beauty for a poetic afternoon or a reflection at midnight. In the magic of morning I can bring all home.

More than anything else I like to write. And rewrite. I often seize pen and paper and rush to embrace something special, unannounced. It is a sense I feel. People have called this shimmer incandescence; the entrance, the magic doorway. Morning becomes personal when I can round up these feelings and turn them into playthings, to be expanded and lovingly enveloped. All mine.

If periods of the day could be seasons; morning would be my springtime, gently lifting little pieces of my dreams and showering them over the new life’s constituency. There is no time like it.

Marie H. Baldwin
Middlebury, Vermont

Dawn is a time of openness for me. I am physically alone yet through prayer, study and reflection I feel the presence of Abdu’l-Baha, a Central Figure of the Baha’i Faith. I feel an historical unfolding of mankind’s abilities. I feel the power of the dawn of that Day. During these early hours I sense the presence of family and friends who have passed away, yet not faraway.

Early, before the sun rises, there is a mountain. Its shadowy presence is comforting, motherly. The mountain stands in the view of a highway just growing busy. The mountain stands as a token of the majesty of God and a metaphor of His constant presence. The sun rising reminds me of the progression of Manifestations that God bestows upon us. We will never be without a Messenger and dawn is the time I feel a special kind of unity, a place in the cosmic pattern.

William Jay Bender
Roanoke, Virginia

9:15 am. I lean out of the window with a smile. That’s when I blow soap bubbles out of my fire lookout tower. Besides reporting smokes in the forest it is my job to take daily weather measurements. I whirl a sling psychrometer to figure the relative humidity. A shiny, black anemometer with spinning cups gives an accurate wind speed. There is a wind vane on top of a nearby pine tree but lightning must have hit it. Some days it doesn’t move at all in the strongest of breezes. So I use a 29¢ bright orange plastic bottle of “Miracle Bubbles,” to see which way the wind is blowing.

A small puff produces six to a dozen. On calm April days they drift slowly to the pine needles thirty feet below. When the winds are squirrely they dance around, bumping into each other and self destructing.

The prevailing winds are from the south on this 7600-foot peak, so the bubbles usually drift north. When the air is moist they disappear intact, catching a twinkle of sunlight before floating out of sight. I suppose they pop before they get to Big Bug Mesa 13 miles away. But I like to think of some gold miner in a dry wash seeing them trail by.

“Dispatcher, winds are from the south at six, temperature 62, RH 38%, visibility 35 miles,” says Jean, the serious civil servant. “They’re so round, so light!” says Jean, the child tossing delicate UFOs to the pine trees.

My life in the woods is a mixture of carefulness and whimsy. I like that picture of me at my favorite time of day: thermometer in one hand and bubble wand in the other.

Jean Rukkila
Crown King, Arizona