child portraits: amelia in big sur


After much running ’round giggling through the grass on the Hill of the Hawk with Amelia (who earlier had been quite affronted by my calling her “Missy” until I told her I’d be calling her Missy up until the day she has a ring on her finger, which caused Saxon to start chanting “Mrs Amelia! Mrs Amelia!” at the top of his lungs as they ran along the bank of the creek), I found myself missing my lens cap.

After sitting for a while on a sofa in the strange cliff-top house with what I think were Native Californian masks grinning down from the walls and frantically pulling nothing but Pfeiffer Beach sand from my bag, I went back out and combed the field with a flashlight as night drew in. It really didn’t matter that much, of course, but when you lose lens caps as often as I do it grows increasingly frustrating each time.

I gave up and headed back through the house (I never figured out who the house belonged to, but it was empty and the doors were all unlocked) to the cars, where the kids were all exchanging shoes for boots and readying the troops for a trip to The Sacred Trees. As I walked away towards my waiting chauffeur, I yelled back over my shoulder: “If you see my lens cap, let me know!” I meant it as a joke, because everyone knows lens caps don’t reappear once they’ve been swallowed by fields of long grass in the dark on Hill of the Hawk.

As I jogged down the drive and reached the car door, Amelia and her dad were suddenly sprinting after me, lens cap in hand. “Amelia had it all along,” he said with a grin; “My glow stick has water in it!” said she.

Then the glow-stick kids and the flashlight gang marched single file into the woods, and I started off on the all-night drive back home to Los Angeles.

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R’s great-grandparents