“Goodnight Moon.” I never made the connection between this image and what I remember as the favorite book I’d read to my daughters at bedtime, when they were younger. It was the suggestion of a friend. I was motivated to not only revisit this image – without a doubt one of my top five nature and landscape photographs – as well as the heartwarming memory of those times that all parents can relate with – the wonderful innocence and love of those “early years.” That stack of books on the nightstand, and saving “Goodnight Moon” for last. I started reading to my daughters as soon as they were old enough to sit up and follow along, probably just after they each turned one year of age. And don’t let anyone say that reading to kids when they are that young doesn’t make a difference. It does. Now nine and 11 they excel in reading and English. My oldest, Emma, has been placed in pre-AP English as she begins her journey into middle school, this Monday.
And there’s no doubt to the positive impact of stories at bedtime has on mom and dad. The memory of first reading that book while she sat on my lap and we looked out the bedroom window in that house in Salt Lake City. I would point to the Moon rising above the nearby snow-covered peaks of the Wasatch Mountains and her eyes would go wide with wonder and then shared smiles. I am blessed beyond measure.
It was perhaps seven or eight years later that I captured this image in another location of shared experiences. The full Moon rising above the hilltop garden that sits behind the Inn at Cedar Falls in the Hocking Hills, Ohio. The evening following Thanksgiving. The light in the sky that evening was beyond ethereal. And then over the eastern horizon Luna came calling.
The signs that are sent our way are wonders to behold. They’re everywhere around us, everyday. It’s only a matter of slowing down, letting go, listening, observing with more than just the eye.
Every once in a while the photographic artist succeeds in capturing the connection between the outward, external presentation of subject and light and the internal, spirit-filled essence that is our love and common ground, and then we glimpse something that transcends time and the confines of the temporal and worrisome. We’re joined. We’re moved. We love.
The friend who suggested this connection between image and favorite bedtime book is also a parent. She saw something in that image that was always there for me but wasn’t fully aware of, until now. Shared experiences, moments that move the spirit and soul. A single photograph, also shared, and we connect back to what moves both artist and viewer.