The electric silence

Watch closely, stand quiet. Something exquisite is about to unfold.

The first thing she notices is how light the camera is. It feels empty, almost cheap compared to her Nikon DSLR. The body is boxy and thin. The dark gray plastic is softer than her own camera, yet the textured perimeter grips her fingers. Four dials line the top, settings that her Nikon handles from a touchscreen. She twists each knob in turn: carefully, carefully. Places her brow to the square viewfinder. Her left hand holds the lens firm and, without thought, rotates the field into focus. The tip of her finger sweeps the right corner to find the shutter release. She lines up the shot.

We’re used to seeing the amateur fumble with new strings and the master effortlessly handle well-worn grooves.

But when an expert meets new equipment, this is a sacred moment.

At once, they regard the strange camera, guitar, rifle with gentle respect and firm confidence. Their hands move to familiar positions, and they pause at every subtle variance. Surprise is one of the few thrills deprived from the seasoned. For the veteran, this is a religious affair.

She’s shot a hundred thousand photos. But this one will be different.

Watch closely, stand quiet. This is the electric silence before the summer storm.