Jay Griffith’s new collection of essays tracks the turning light of the day and seasons, an almanac of the turning times. Beginning in night and winter, it moves to dawn and spring, then noon and summer and finally evening and autumn. Set partly at the author’s home in Wales, the book journeys more widely, searching for a dead father in Prague, listening to the Sky-Grandmothers of Mexican myth and staying with the people of West Papua who, when they know they will fall over laughing, lie down first.
It asks: what is the real gift of Nemesis and why is she so misjudged? Why should flowers be prescribed as medicine? What do male zebra finches dream of? Where do the sands of time run fastest, and how is that connected to the age of anxiety?
It explores the dawn chorus; the tradition of sacred hospitality; dust from the time before the sun even existed; the twilight time of the trickster and the daily rituals of morning. In all of these it asks: why does light, through the hours of the day and the seasons of the year, affect us? Because light is how we think.