This time of year especially, beach light can be so harsh and unforgiving that I don’t particularly love photographing there. Sunlight had been aggressively bearing down on us, and the expressions I was seeing were strained as a result. Even with the sun positioned behind the young teen, the sand and open sky in front of her were reflecting it back into her face so severely that it caused her to squint and even grimace.
Miraculously, a single cloud appeared from nowhere and offered a brief respite, softening both the countenance of the girl and disposition of the photographer. The gratitude I experience in times like this is astounding in its immediacy. So often it seems we feel our deepest sense of gratitude after the fact, which is wonderful in itself. But to be aware, completely and joyfully aware, that this very moment is the gift engages us in such a way that God can’t help but join in and be felt as well.
And all it took was a cloud.