I take a step back
I take a step back. Here’s what I’m looking for – the right light, the right angle.
I pull the camera away from my eyes and examine the image. The light is great, but almost too good. It’s caused the image to blur. Damn. I wish I had more time.
“Again!” I call.
“Okay,” he says.
Refocusing the lens, I take a deep breath. I probably only have about five minutes to capture the image I’m looking for. The light races across the horizon, so quickly that each breath reveals a different mood with the increasingly changing light. The sun continues to move below the horizon and I’m going to be left with only shadows. Darkness.
Realizing this is my last chance, I move quickly. Snap. Snap. Snap.
“Hold it, right there,” I manage to say calmly, but I don’t have time to waste. No more chances, no more do-overs. I have to keep taking snapshots, images of this moment in time. It will be forever lost, the mood and the moment. I may not capture it.
Snap. Snap. Snap.
The sun slides down so quickly you can see it go, it’s like that here at the shore. The water, the sand, the rocks, the cold wind. Shadows are growing long and I continue taking pictures.
“Go ahead and run!” I yell to him, above the stiff breeze that has gotten much louder as the waves begin rolling in.
Happily, he’s off. He has been so patient – waiting for his chance to run. To tear down the beach, scare off the seagulls I’ve wanted to capture with him. The light is fading, but his joy has just begun. The seagulls are taking off, squawking, pealing, complaining. He? He is filled with the thrill of the chase, the pleasure of the hunt. As he careens down the waterline, stirring birds. Sand flying out behind him.
I smile to myself. This. This is what the beach is about. This is what I really want to capture.
With the waning light, I pull out my camera and begin snapping pictures. I’m not even looking into the lens but looking through it. An overwhelming feeling fills my heart, gets large in my throat, as I see his joy. I’ve been keeping him from it all afternoon for a lousy image.
He reels, his pace slows, his laughter begins in short spurts. I can hear him above the crashing waves, the wind coming off the water, the gulls now utterly vanished at the happy, howling boy. Panting as he reaches me, wide smile, sparkling eyes he says, “Thanks mom, that was so much fun!”
I smile. This boy, my heart, is so grateful for the work I have to do to make our home happen.
“Thank you, my love.”