Of course, everyone knows you’re not supposed to shoot the night skies when the moon’s full. That’s the Main Rule.
Yet, there I was. Although to my (very slight) credit, I was there one day after it was full. But when trips have to be scheduled around other things, and when night-sky photography isn’t the main reason for travel, sometimes you have to take what you can get. And what I got was a nice dead tree – on the edge of a cemetery, even – and a shy moon peaking out.
One of my main rules, especially when I’m photographing in a cemetery, is that I don’t touch or remove or rearrange anything.
But on September 2, 2020, I broke that rule.
When my dad was very old, living unhappily in an assisted living center, he prepared a list for me. It was titled Things I Want or Need or Both, and it included fourteen items. There were things he needed from the grocery store (“6. A box of some kind of crackers” and “7. 6 or 8 little ice cream cups”), a not-at-all subtle dig at the Affordable Care Act (“14. Do I really owe a sum of money to Covenant? Maybe this is my introduction to Obama’s ACA???”), the latest round in his ongoing battle with a nurse at the facility (“8. The return of my stolen Pill Minder”), and two things that absolutely broke my heart. The first one of these was “9. An answer to my daily morning prayer, ‘Dear God, please let this be the day you take me home.'”
And the second heart-breaking item was “4. A black and white kitten.”
And that’s why, when I saw this, I had to know whose grave was decorated with a cat.
It’s the final resting place of Lawrence Machlied (June 1, 1926 – April 17, 2003). Mr. Machlied, my dad, and black and white kittens were on my mind the rest of the day.