I'm not much of a picture taker. When I look in my "Pictures" folder, I see under 50 prints. I might make a physical appearance in a dozen of them. Mostly, they are pictures of places: Places I once called home, places where I found a love of nature or music or of someone or something. With the distance of time and memory giving me direction, I go back to these places and snap pictures. I want to have a pixelated color print to hold in my hand, something corporeal, to hold out to someone and say,"Here it is. This is where a piece of me was born."
Cave Point in Wisconsin is one of those places.
I took these pictures last August. It would have been more appropriate had I taken them at night, but I could have gotten the same effect by going to a store and gazing at a black piece of construction paper.
It was 1998, long after midnight on a summer night hinting at fall. Under falling stars, we sat atop rock platforms carved out by the lake over centuries. Twenty or so twenty year olds: cooks, waiters, busboys, all under those stars together as a temporary family.
Some closed their eyes and slept after the heat of day and the stress of night; others passed around cigarettes, and liquid flowed out of bottles and cans. Yet few spoke.
The forecasted meteor shower did not disappoint. A few, the paranoid, the rule-followers, sat up constantly seeing headlights of approaching cop cars that simply did not exist.
But beyond that, there was calm. The heirarchy of work dissolved like the stars extinquishing themselves across the black tablet of sky, and the family lay there in silence, living in the moment.
Responsibilities, future plans, financial stability, career obligations, strategic planning, all the buzzowords of adulthood had become more insistent and demanding as summer passed; yet here Mother Nature had granted us a brief respite from life.
And as that fall chill set in the air, a collective shudder ran through our group, trying to fend off theses thoughts of the future awaiting each of us when the restaurant closed at the end of the season. With the waves tickling our feet, we did not concentrate on how many tips we made for the night or if we had to come in for the breakfast shift after having slept for maybe an hour. Instead, we huddled a little closer to one another as we looked up at the sky and out across the water, trying to uncover the horizon at the edge of darkness while waiting for the next piece of sky to fall.