The sun was warm and yellow, plump in its fervor, just ready to plunge beneath the row of trees outlining the horizon. There was no discord of excess noise to mar the quiet of the evening. Only tranquil sounds– of bees buzzing lazily and leaves swaying, rustling their farewell to the day. Only the sounds of three children, walking together in a line, finding little slugs and swatting away the tiny bugs that filled the evening haze. I turned and looked at these three children, and saw with sharpness and heightened senses the many details that are easily taken for granted every day– The way the sun lit their summer-blond hair, frosting the sides of their temples white. The many tiny scratches and summertime bruises on little shins, from days of bike riding, rollerskating and soccer games in the green, green grass. The tiny mole next to his lip that always make me smile inside. How her eyes have a droopy sway to them, often looking up with a happy light. The descending curve of long lashes on his cheek as he looks down at his feet traversing the grassy field.
They sit and open their books, quiet in their concentration, almost forgetting the purpose of our little excursion. As I photograph, the books draw them in, and in the calmness, the scraping sound of page-turning interrupts the whirring of wheat swaying with the wind. And in that instant, I press the shutter, knowing that we got it. The moment. The one that tells the story of who these children are, and what they love. The moment that shows a little boy’s furrowed brow, deep in concentration, as he sounds out the words. The one that shows a young boy, working his fingernails as he is taken in by the suspense in his Hardy Boy book– the same book that my Grandpa Ryan read when he was a young boy. The moment that shows a little girl, slightly more aware of my intrusion, but unaware enough that a little piece of hair has fallen before her eyes, and she left it there. That small, 250th of a second in time that will bring me happiness for so, so much longer. A window into the little lives that I can’t hold in my hands forever, but will be deep in my heart for always.