We took the usual route up Adelaide North, to Stonehouse road then right to Observatory Hill Road. We drove slowly since it was pitch black and we were the only people on the narrow, scary road, which was edged by tall grasses that blended into a horizon of complete darkness. Since the roof was down on the car we could hear the crushing of gravel under the tires, which sounded a little like bones being crushed by a vicious and bloody axe murderer. I parked the car in front of the silhouette of the abandoned Cronyn observatory, which was gently outlined by a soft sparkle from the moon.
We got out of the car and stood bounded by complete darkness. Britt judiciously examined our scene to check out our safety, as she still expects the Walking Dead to have some sort of role in her life on this particular road. She jumped when she saw tiny lights moving, flickering sporadically around her head. It must be the glow from the eyes of the dead…or the walking dead, carrying their teeny-tiny walking dead flashlights so they don’t twist their ankles when they attack... "What are those lights?" she said, "they are coming closer; they are right at us!" I calmly sized up the situation and replied "Fireflies". I continued to get my camera out of the trunk.
I took a few time exposures to try and pull some colour out of the sky, but all I really caught was the ghost of someone who obviously had met the Walking Dead while stargazing on this street before…
Just as Britt settled and started to feel a little more relaxed, we saw the lights of another car very slowly, crawling, hardly moving at all, heading in our direction. The bone crunching gravel sounds were getting closer and louder. The car parked. A man carefully raised himself from the driver’s seat and said: "It's okay, We’re not axe murderers!” And they indeed didn’t have any axes with them that we could see in the darkness, only cameras and tripods.
We all stood in silence, staring at the sky waiting for any sort of illumination movement at the horizon to the north when another car slowly crept up the road. This time the bones were being crushed by Christine, Brittany’s best friend, and Christine's mother, Sharon. They parked the car and got out. Christine locked the doors by pushing the button on her key fob and just a fraction of a second before she closed the locked car doors, she tossed her keys inside, onto the drivers seat so she didn't have to hold them. The door clicked itself closed. Locked. Locked in darkness, with people who said the words “Axe murderer” standing just a few feet away...
By this time it was after midnight. Christine phoned her dad. Her first words when he answered were “I love you daddy!” We all howled with laughter. She explained. He asked if it was an April Fool’s joke. He encouraged her to smash her car windows to get in. She wouldn’t. He also wanted her to climb up on to the roof of the car and go in through the sunroof. But because of Christine’s concerns that no one could possibly steal her car from her, while she was standing right beside it, the sunroof also was locked. The axe murderers beside us didn’t have a car door pick-lock set. The dad agreed to bring the other set of keys.
While we waited, we watched a thin layer of cloud gracefully extend itself from the northern horizon right to the big dipper directly above our heads. This meant that any chance of seeing a clear view of the spectacular, dancing lights we so eagerly wanted to see, was impossible. We could see the lights, but the view was through the clouds, which made it look like a weak sunset. But at least we saw them – sort-of.
Christine’s dad arrived with the keys… he thought the lights we were seeing were the glow from the City of Stratford…and well... the ghost in the time exposure photo posted with this note, was really Brittany, my god-daughter “walking dead” in front of my camera lens during the time exposure shot!
It was fun!