I had a beautiful summer day, but no one wanted to go flying with me - Calmer Half is still recovering from getting cut on by the doc, Awesome Farmer was busy moving a tractor and fixing things, and Line Guy was busy working, and busy after work. Housemate wanted to, but he was exhausted from a week of work - so he took a nap first. The nap stretched til 5:30 in the afternoon, when I had dinner already cooking, and house chores I was doing.
After a dinner of red beans and rice, we headed out to the airport (over 20 miles away.) The FBO was already closed, as they go home at 7, and the sun was a mere handspan over the horizon. In Alaska, this means we have anywhere from 2 to 3 hours of usable dusk - not so much here in the sunny south, where they think it's proper for August to be the hottest month of the year.
By the time we had checked the airplane thoroughly, discussing the whys and wherefores of the engine, and taxied to mag check, the sun was finger-widths above the horizon, and dropping fast. We climbed into golden air, smooth as silk and all the haze aglow with honeyed sun. Below, shadows streaked indigo and violet across the land, and the river was a tracery in deep shades of purple and blue as night rose from the eastern horizon and the land below to the still-lit sky.
We turned around, and by the time I was in downwind, the instrument panel was getting hard to read, the runway lights were shining like stars, and the headlights of a car parked by a plane cast long beacons across the ramp. I sank into dusk and landed, amazed that the air was so smooth it barely seemed possible that a 7-knot wind was blowing, and taxied to the tie-down.
All the way home, Housemate and I discussed the questions that came to mind during the flight, and what I felt I could have done better. Among other things, I think next time we skip dinner and eat afterward - from daylight to deep dusk was a mere fourteen minute flight.