Some of us bounce out of bed ready to embrace the early morning, and are at their most productive during the ante meridiem period. Others sluggishly drag themselves out of their slumber, failing to hit a maximum productive peak until later in the day, (I shan't disclose what time of day I'm writing this piece). But regardless of whether you're a 'lark' or an 'night owl', the human species is fundamentally a 'diurnal' animal, i.e. active during the day. Although did you know, your pet dog - if left to their own devices - would naturally be more active not during the day or night, but during twilight!
Peer into Daniel's new Twilight Collection - capturing this darker time of day.
Yes that's right, man's best friend is not diurnal but 'crepuscular'; so if you're sitting there wondering when to walk the dog, now you know. In fact there are many animals who have evolved to thrive amidst the mystical and magical period of half light; albeit for very different reasons, which we shall soon discover at a later date. But what other examples of crepuscular animals do we have? Well, there's bats, nightjars, domestic cats, rabbits, deer, short-eared owls, bears, moths, guinea pigs, jaguars… the list goes on.
But what really is twilight? Hmmm, time for the science bit:
Twilight occurs during sunrise and sunset when the angle of our closest star is between 6 and 18 degrees below the Earth's horizon. Photographers call it 'sweet light', for its beautiful silhouettes minus any direct shadow, and painters know it as 'blue light', named after the French expression 'l'heure bleue'. During this period it is even possible to see the Earth's shadow, which is usually seen as a dark blue band which touches the horizon opposite a setting or rising sun.
Throughout history man has associated a great deal of significance with twilight. In Islam twilight signals the call to prayer, and is also an important indicator for respecting the fasting traditions of Ramadan. In Hinduism twilight is known as 'godhūlivelā', which literally translates as 'cow dust time' - cows being extremely sacred animals in Hinduism. There's even a twilight themed fable in the Hindu scriptures which tells the story of a daemonic king called Hiranyakashipu. The king acquired a blessing from Brahma which meant he could not be killed by man nor beast during night or day, so Lord Vishnu transformed into a half-man half-lion being, (neither man or beast), and smote the tyrannous king during the transition of night and day.
Shop the DM Twilight Collection - a cards-only range featuring Bunny, Bear and Jaguar designs.
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With the exception of artists, inventors, and teenagers - we humans are diurnal daytime creatures on the whole, and although it’s one thing to be out and about during the night in a street lit urban environment, it’s a very different scenario if you find yourself in, say… oh, I don’t know, a forest per se. Where, if you’re lucky, you may hear the unmistakable cry or hoot of an Owl: natures very own nocturne, a stark reminder of the unknown peril of night, and a creature that has featured heavily in myth and folklore throughout the ages.