When you go wandering on the Internet, there are no footprints in the snow to help you find your way back, remind you of the trees you walked beneath or the animals that crossed your path.
In the dead of the night, startled by a dream, a noise, age, I went wandering. Followed a link to a post that linked to another that loved a third. And so on. And somehow, I found a photographer who wanted to give a prize: a free photo shoot in your house. After which, she would present the lucky reader with a book of photos meant to capture a day in their life.
In all its ordinary extraordinariness.
Describe the challenges and triumphs, she asked. Tell me about the moments you want to freeze frame.
And then I saw it: the deadline I'd missed. I'd wandered into the forest looking for autumn leaves and found them submerged in the creek bed beneath winter's ice shards.
But it's the dead of the night again, a different night, and the sump pump wakes me. Its alarm triggered by the power outage of a strong winter storm. And I'm thinking of the five minutes I shared with Esme the other morning when we sat in a darkened room, hands intertwined, cheeks touching. Her carpool was late and we waited. In a silence that screamed "Remember this moment!"
I think of the fat tears that fill Tobias' dark brown eyes, wet his lashes and somehow stay suspended on his cheeks. His slap red round cheeks and impish smile. The way he crawls like a bear cub to my belly to watch TV, then puts his hand in my shirt. A reminder. Reassurance. I see him kiss me, how he holds his lips steady until they are ready to meet mine squarely. He puckers, then smooches with tender precision.
"Do it again," I say. "Again." "Again."
And if I'd found the photographer's site in time, that's what I would have told her. About those ordinary moments so extraordinary they keep me awake at night.