There Are Only Words

(December 30, 2008)

We were halfway home when I saw the narrow sliver of moon hanging high in the sky; my hand immediately went to my side, and I fumbled for my camera for several seconds before remembering that I didn't have it with me. My mother and I continued talking – neurosurgery, America's overuse of corn, Johnny Depp's cheekbones; you know, standard mother-daughter subjects – but I heard a little voice in the back of my head. It sounded suspiciously canine.

"Hey, Sarah, it'd be really great if you got a good picture of the moon. I like to sing at it, after all, and you need practice taking shots at night..."

It was an awfully seductive voice, but its request presented a problem: I don't own a tripod, and it's pretty much impossible to get a clear photo at night without one, especially when you're trying to shoot in a dark area. (All of New Brunswick constitutes a dark area.) The gears begin to grind, and after a few moments of silence, I asked Mom, "Do you own anything tall and stable which you don't mind getting dirty?" Given that Mom is my mother, she just started coming up with ideas, asking no follow-up questions.

And that's how I ended up running around the acre of our backyard, barefoot, in pajama pants (rolled up to my knees) and a gigantic winter coat, my telephoto-lens-enabled camera around my neck and an unfolded ironing board in my arms. I was ankle-deep in mud, and the board's legs kept sinking into it, causing me to list helplessly to the left and right at random intervals. I took some test shots of the house and yard, then located Venus… but no moon. In the twenty minutes it took me to gather my supplies of ghetto goodness, the moon had set. The sky was almost black, and there was nothing to do about it.

The voice came back; it was bubbling over with laughter. I squished the mud between my toes, then climbed onto the board and laughed along.

This is what we do on vacation!