Thorsten Zöller

The Melancholy of the Day

A new day begins, in the dark, in silence. Everything is still asleep; there is barely any activity, any motion. It is a state of peace and serenity. There is nothing to accomplish, no hustle and bustle; everything is immersed in stillness.

Then, the sun begins to rise, and slowly the world awakens from its sleep. Not much is happening yet, but the new day is full of potential, full of opportunities. An atmosphere of departure prevails. Everything seems possible, nothing impossible. As the sun continues to rise, a tension develops, as the inactivity of the night wants to release itself into activity.

Around noon, when the sun is highest in the sky, the day is most powerful. Glittering light falls from the outside into the rooms; light which is so strong that it blinds. The day is now bursting with energy. Everything is possible, and no end of this state is conceivable.

But then comes the afternoon, and slowly, very slowly, the sun begins its descent. At first barely visible, it does not take long until it becomes clear that the day cannot maintain its power. First shades emerge, and the light is no longer as glittering as it was before; it is slightly dimmer now than just a short time ago. And it is constantly changing. It becomes ever softer and warmer the deeper the sun is in the sky. It still fills the rooms, but instead of dominating them, it becomes tender. The light immerses everything in dim, warm colors, and the shades become longer and longer. It is a mystical, almost magical atmosphere which now accrues.

But this change of light, of the mood, is accompanied by a certain melancholy, and the melancholy grows the longer the day lasts and the fainter the light becomes. The steady change of light, proceeding faster and faster, leaves no doubt that the end of the day approaches. Some time still remains, but it seeps away quickly, second for second, minute for minute. The time when the day seemed invincible is now long gone; long gone is the time when it seemed that the day would prevail forever. It is absolutely clear now that it will be over soon. It had just brimmed over with power, with self-confidence, with energy—but now it becomes weaker and ever weaker, and very soon it will be history and forever, irretrievably gone.