The crescent moon was so bright and luminous in the sky. The sky that was past dusk but not yet dark. A velvetty deep indigo fading to washed out palest grey at the edges. And one big, bright, shiny, close-enough-to-touch looking star posed artistically just above it. The mountains had lost their details to become imposing late evening silhouettes, somehow feeling closer in the dark.
I didn't have my camera with me and I was going to go back and get it. I rarely leave the house without my camera. Even before I had a digital camera I felt the need to capture scenes, people and moments I encountered.
My mum is an amazing photographer. She has a way of seeing the potential in a scene. Something that others would only see when she had her film developed and showed them. Not that I appreciated this when I was a kid. It felt like I spent half my childhood posing (in a natural and unposed kind of way) waiting for the sun to come out again, or that cloud to move a bit, or the sea to calm down etc etc. She still does it now, albeit without us kids. She doesn't even go to the local shop to buy milk and bread without taking her camera along.
But I didn't go back to get my camera. Because I don't know how to use the night settings very well. But more than that, because it wasn't something you could capture on film.
The immensity of the Autumn sky, the fuzzy grey not quite darkness, those intriguing pockets of warmer air you sometimes chance upon, the incredible stillness of my neighbourhood after dark. All the farmers and their constant activity tucked back inside their houses awaiting tomorrow and the work it will bring. Not a sound coming from anywhere and only warm yellow kitchen lights and cooking smells letting me know I wasn't alone.
It was the feeling of walking alone, and in the dark, and at my own brisk pace- so rare for me with two preschoolers. It was the eager anticipation of a dear friend coming to stay. It was the warm, tired, pre-ache in my muscles after a long and fulfilling day out in the garden, all four of us together, working with soil and plants and fallen leaves, in the sun and the breeze, talking and laughing and marvelling at nature in all it's forms.
It was the dry crisp air making my cheeks tingle, my nose run, my lips dry out. My fingers numbing with cold, my legs moving faster to keep me warm.
Some things just can't be caught on film. Some things you just have to experience, and relish, and remember with all your senses. And in a world where there doesn't seem to be anything left uncaptured, where Myspace, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, Blogger, and Skype enable me to share all events big and small, all the trivial minutiae of my life with anyone who'll watch and listen, it felt wonderful to stand amongst all that and look up and appreciate something that was there for one moment only. The moon would continue it's slow journey up into the night sky, the sky would darken, other stars would come out and the moment would be gone.
But for one moment I stood in the middle of my street with my face turned up and I shared an understanding with the moon, the mountains, the night sky. With nature. Nothing else existed for me in that moment and it felt amazing to be alive.