Hunting by Flashlight

Being a parent is an exciting journey.  For one thing, you get to do a lot of really fun stuff that you otherwise might miss out on completely as a "regular" adult.  Years ago, I toured an aircraft carrier in New York as part of Fleet Week, and I remember wishing I had borrowed someone's child to bring along, so that I could go into all the helicopters, etc, without feeling like an interloper.  Well, now I have my very own ticket to all sorts of interesting shenanigans.  

Iphone photo - a rare one of us together!  And there's my FM2, loaded with Cinestill, ready.

Iphone photo - a rare one of us together!  And there's my FM2, loaded with Cinestill, ready.

The most recent one was our town's annual Flashlight Egg Hunt, just before Easter.  For some reason, we had never attended before, but I am pretty sure we will make it a new tradition, until she decides she is "too old" and gets fed up.

It was a wonderfully bizarre and surreal experience.  Having no idea what to expect, we arrived to a carnival atmosphere and lot of really, really hyper kiddos.  

In the interest of fairness, there were three separate hunts:  one at twilight for the younger children, one a bit later for the older ones who still wanted a parent to come along, and one good and late for the rest.  

I signed up my daughter for the last one, and, after I attempted to find out where we were supposed to be and when, we hit the playground.  

It was chaos.  I found myself feeling thankful that our town is relatively small and relatively safe, since I had no chance of keeping up on foot and could barely even manage with my eyes. 

Eventually we made our way to the area where the hunt was going to be held.  It was fenced off with chicken wire (I really have to hand it to the parks department for their Herculean effort for the event), and metal barriers were put at the opening to form a sort of holding pen at the entrance.  The kids packed themselves in with gusto.  These were the Serious Players, ranging in age up to what I have to assume was teens, since some of them were definitely taller than me. 

They waited with an admirable amount of patience; after a while a DJ rode up on a golf cart tricked out with huge speakers, and whipped them into a frenzy with candy dances and the appearance of the Easter Bunny, who also danced.  

While all of this was going on, I watched as event volunteers lugged huge trash cans full of stuffed eggs and other goodies into the field and hurled armloads of the contents out onto the grass.  I'm almost temped to volunteer next year, just for the pleasure of chucking candy filled eggs with wild abandon.  A woman asked me nervously where was the exit to the hunt, and would she be able to find her child afterward in the dark, should they agree on a place to meet?  I'm guessing that holding a camera makes a person look like they Know Things.  I told her my daughter and I had agreed to meet at a specified tree, although afterward I decided to go wait at the exit instead, where participants emptied their booty into baskets and put the discarded eggs back into bins to be recycled for next year.

When all the eggs had been "placed," the gates were open and everyone went in single file, to wait along the fenceline until the sounding of an air horn that meant the hunt was on.  Fifteen minutes, and it was all over!  We rifled through her goodies and settled in with kettle corn to watch the outdoor movie, until the cold got to us and we decided to go home.

Next Easter:  BRING IT ON!

All photos except the first are Cinestill 800T film, made with Nikon FM2.