Editor’s Viewpoint: The Northern Ireland Woman Chosen to Model a Dress Made in Honour of Cecil the Lion
“Activists should be proud of this tribute to Cecil the lion. The killing of Cecil the lion by an American trophy hunter in Zimbabwe led to an outcry from conservationists and new laws in the US making it harder for its citizens to commit such acts in future. But an animal rights activist from Northern Ireland and a London fashion designer teamed up to pay their own special tribute to Cecil. Mary Martin created a dress with a distinctive collar mimicking a lion’s mane, and Janice Porter, who runs an animal sanctuary near Omagh, was chosen to model it for a charity event in Northern Ireland. It was a unique way to remember a king of beasts while raising much needed funds for animal welfare.” Belfast Telegraph
Twilight. The seeping of day into night. Flux made manifest. A liminal state, a period of transformation, optical and psychological. As light fades, our eyes play tricks on us, inventing horizons, altering distances, shrouding landmarks. We become more obscure to ourselves as well. Soon we are diner, dancer, lover. But in this moment, the night is not so much young as hardly begun.
There’s palpable tension in this transition between our day and night selves. In Laughter in the Dark, Vladimir Nabokov’s doomed character Albinus experiences it on a visit to his mistress. “Lights were being put on, and their soft orange glow looked very lovely in the pale dusk. The sky was still quite blue, with a single salmon coloured cloud in the distance, and all this unsteady balance between light and dusk made Albinus feel giddy.”
For lost souls, the magic hour passes unobserved, pre empted by the explicit reds of sunset; or its nuances eclipsed by the acid glow of streetlights. F Scott Fitzgerald beautifully captures the melancholy of fading day in The Great Gatsby when his narrator Nick Carraway observes, “At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others – poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner – young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”
Twilight. The time when the power of reason wanes and fantasy weaves its own tales. Full of frisson, danger, desire. Moral and social strictures loosen as the first stars appear. Under the diffusion of mauve light there is heightened sensitivity to the promise of life; anything is possible in this magic hour. Grasp it, for the intensity is almost tangible; feel it, before going forth into the night, both derivative and original, living in the present yet loving the past.