Back in the day, long before I had Roma and Muzzy, I was a twenty-something with a cat and a boyfriend. One year, the boyfriend and I left the cat with a sitter and drove west to California by way of the Grand Canyon. We planned to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the national park. By the time we arrived, it was already dark. When I was a child, my family had no interest in road trips. A 45-minute drive to the Jersey shore was like a transatlantic flight in a weather balloon during hurricane season. To have actually made it to an all-American family road-trip destination was a triumphant moment of normalcy, and I could not contain my giddy joy. I ran up to a barrier and peered into the darkness. "Is it really down there?" In a demonstration of rare concern for my physical safety, the boyfriend held me back by the hood of my jacket. I would have to wait until morning to see that big hole in the ground.
We set our alarm clocks for an ungodly early hour and then trudged in the freezing darkness to the edge of the Canyon. The sun's slow rising was like the unveiling of the most exquisite and enormous jewel. I took pictures. Then the sun would move another iota, completely altering the colors and shadings of the landscape. I took more pictures—with one of those newfangled disposable panoramic cameras. In the end, I must have taken 100 shots. When I got the photos back from the drug store after our trip, I was dismayed because, of course, you can't capture the natural, majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon on a crap camera, and yet I had tried.
Fast forward. I still try to capture nature's fleeting glories on film, only now it's digital. Here then, a series I call "Dog Park sky at night, with waxing moon and storm clouds in the east: June 2, 2009."