Today, we went to Sydney. It's at least an hour and a half drive, and normally we can't help but notice how long the journey is, how stop-and-start the traffic is once in the city, and normally the kids say, “I feel sick,” or “How much longer?”
But this time, my husband and I told stories. We told the kids about how we fell in love. I told the kids about our first dates—to see music and movies and how once we gave a homeless man some pizza. My husband told the kids about serenading me with his trumpet at my work on Valentine's Day. We told the story of our first kiss. My husband said, “Once she had a taste of these lips, she was a goner.” I told a version that involved a lot of slurping sounds. The kids cracked up. They couldn't get enough. “Tell another! Tell another!” they said.
The time flew by. We arrived bouncy, ready to take on a busy day.
On the way back, we were tired. We were quiet and in our own spaces. My husband nudged the car through evening traffic, and I felt blank and even a little cranky (there, I admitted it). I started to take photos in the dark, with the flash off. I took a photo of a shoe, a car mirror, my jeans. Each photo came out with the image intact, if a little eerie. It was amazing what the camera could take in, in the darkness. How it used all available light to make a picture.
Then I found if I swirled the camera around as it took a shot of something lit, like the phone charger, I could make circles of light appear. “Wow! That's so cool!” I said, and showed the kids. Then I made lines of light, just by holding the camera towards the headlights of approaching cars.
The kids loved it. Soon we were all suspended, entranced. I took more and more photos and my son borrowed my husband's phone, to take photos for himself. We made the light dance. We Oohed and Aahed; we laughed.
When our city came into view—a blanket of dotted lights far below us—the kids were dazzled. They said, “Look! Look at that view!” and my daughter said, “It looks like a maze!” It was as though they were seeing their hometown for the very first time.
We drove down and down the mountain, to our town. We came home so happy, even though we'd been traveling for hours. It felt like we'd jumped through a magical hoop that made the journey exciting, special. Like we had used all available light to make our own, good story appear.
circle of light