The Sunday Paper: Skating by Moonlight

“I’m going back out there later,” he said. “Will you come with me?”

All afternoon, Jared poured bucket after bucket of water on the pond. I watched from the office window as he walked to the hose, filled the bucket, and poured it precisely where the water was needed. He made dozens of trips back and forth, to ensure the pond had the perfect coat of ice for skating.

We spent the evening relaxing in the living room, where a big picture window looks out on the pond. Every half hour or so, Jared would switch the lamp off to see how bright it had gotten outside. The full moon continued to rise as the sky got brighter and brighter. The moonlight reflecting off the snow made it like a permanent dusk, with the perfect combination of light and dark.

The brighter it got, the more excited Jared became. Again, he turned to me and asked, “Are you coming with me?

To be honest, my initial reaction to going outside at 11:00pm in the 9 degree weather was, “Are you crazy!?” I really didn’t think he was serious. The wind chill was below zero and our flannel bed sheets were calling my name.

But I could see how excited Jared was and I didn’t want to let him down. It would have been easy to say no and climb into bed while he hoofed it outside by himself. But there was more to it than that. It was about spontaneity. A fleeting moment that would just slide by if we didn’t grasp it. It was a chance to make a memory.

So we bundled up and went outside with camera, tripod and flash in hand. Because if we were going out in the cold, you better believe we were going to capture it.

It is amazing how still the world is in the darkness of the night. The cloud filled sky was backlit by the moon, creating a stunning ceiling above us. The silhouettes of the trees against the dark, gray sky surrounded us. The only noises we heard were the scrapes of our skates against the pond and the rustling of a nearby animal in the trees.

We skated back and forth as the cold air bit our noses and cheeks. We snapped a couple of goofy pictures individually and I said I wanted just one good one of us together. And there we stood, in the middle of the pond. Frozen fingers trying to trigger the flash. Off it went, and just like that the memory was sealed.

In this new year, one of our personal goals is to make our own memories and capture them. So that when we look back and try to tell our story, we can let the pictures do the talking.

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