I can’t stop saying “crepuscular,” ever since I read this beautiful little book, Nocturne, by Traer Scott.
In this book of stunning animal portraits and accompanying factual blurbs, the author features a few critters that are neither diurnal (active in the daytime) nor nocturnal (active in the nighttime) but crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn).
What a word! Crepuscular. For me, it conjures images of muscular beasts from the Cretaceous period. My husband says it sounds like an oozing boil – but that just makes it more fun for me to say at breakfast.
Crepuscular comes from the Latin word for twilight. The word is best saved for reference to things that are active during twilight, like rabbits and housecats. But you can also use it to describe anything twilight-related, such as the mist that rises from the lake at dawn.
“I’m heading to the dock to enjoy the crepuscular mist,” I tell my husband.
“Ew,” he says, heading indoors.
Best of all, crepuscular creatures can be divided into those which are matutinal (most active in the morning) and those which are vespertine (most active in the evening).
Vespertine. Even yummier than crepuscular. Say it out loud. Vespertine. Delicious.
These precise words can likewise be used to describe creatures or other dawn- and dusk-related things, as in: “Elderly yogis tend to be matutinal, while teenagers seek enlightenment through vespertine pursuits.”
Try to make room in your next conversation for “vespertine” or “crepuscular.” It’s sure to liven things up.
If a wordless Wednesday is more your style, check out Traer Scott’s portfolios online. They’re awe-inspiring.
From tree frogs to shelter dogs, Scott captures the soul of every subject (without stealing it – she’s very respectful). Nocturne is just one of her beautiful collections.
Happy Wednesday. And Happy Canada Day! Enjoy the vespertine fireworks but watch out for crepuscular mosquitoes.
Have a great week.