We left the keys to our motel room in a box outside the locked reception, and drove out into the dark. The kind of dark that holds its breath before the dawn. Cold air outside frosted the car windows and the children drew on the melting glass, painting the dark road, as it flashed past, with eerie swirls and scribbles.
In between dense pockets of fog, our headlights flashed over warning signs. CAUTION: SNOW AND BLACK ICE ON ROAD. Subconsciously we both leaned forward in our seats, squinting uselessly into the spotlit dark for unseen hazards as we hurtled forwards at 100 kilometres an hour.
By the time the sky began to brighten, ever so lightly, we were desperate for coffee, but there was nary a town in sight. The car rushed on through the mist. "We are driving inside clouds!" the children shouted for joy.
And then all at once, as if some unseen celestial homeowner had flipped a switch, the sun came up, and the day was glorious. Clouds floated skywards, and winter sun filtered through and over us like gold-dust. If angels had suddenly started singing opera out of sunbursts, it could not have been more magnificent a morning, and none of us would have been surprised.
Still we sped forward, now telling each other intermittently, "WHAT a morning!" and "What a beautiful dawn!"
We finally found coffee and Vegemite-on-toast about half an hour later, but all four of us were already caffeinated by the day.