This fall has been one for the record books, over three months lost to industry and stress. Between Labor Day and a couple of days ago, I was invisible to the outside world and it to me. I sent only the necessary email, didn't speak to my family in the Midwest and spent but a few hours of substantial time with my family here on weekend afternoons. I didn't read or write anything and took pictures perfunctorily. I slept an hour less than I needed every night and tapered my running down to a wheezing jaunt on the treadmill every ten days. I saw neckbeards that used to be dreams. Visitors came and went and I was just barely there.
With one major exception—the week that we spent in Maine. It was the perfect family vacation and everything came together beyond all our expectations—the location, the weather, the kids' reaction, the timing, and most of all, the quiet. When I stepped outside our cabin at midnight, it was absolutely silent and would have been pitch black if not for the most brilliant night sky I can remember seeing. There was nothing but me, my thoughts and the occasional camera on a tripod, feebly trying to capture the roar of life in my chest. Inside the house, the atmosphere was much the same. There was no fighting, no crying, no email, no phone, just us spending the best kind of time together, completely in the moment.
A week after we returned, still fresh from the vacation high, I was thinking about what I wanted to write about the trip when I came across Kevin Fanning's review of his experience of the Sonic Peanut Butter Fudge Shake. While I feel a little silly quoting someone else's words to describe an experience that meant so much to me, I couldn't do any better. I think I may have even said "Yes" aloud, to my monitor, when I first read this paragraph:
And here is my review: everything about that evening was amazing, and just exactly what I needed from the universe that day. And I wished everyone I loved could experience this, in whatever way would hold the most meaning for them: this overwhelming appreciation for being in a certain place, at a perfect moment, with the people who are most important in your life. I hope this happens for you, if it hasn't already. It was amazing. I can't tell you. It was amazing.
My attempts to capture that feeling through a 6.1 megapixel sensor are here:
Bonus additional panoramas to wrap yourself in:December 22, 2008