"This one is pleasant," James said.
"As I recall it was taken right before one of my marriages disintegrated into painful chaos," the professor replied.
"And knowing you, Harold, the image must contain metaphors or symbols that reflect the sad circumstance."
"Yes, and a myraid of connections. What immediately springs to mind are the exquisite pre-historic paintings on the walls of the caves of Lascaux and Chauvet-pont-d'arc."
"What do ancient representations of animals have to do with it?"
"The cave dwellers were attempting to summon powerful magic. A means of gaining control over a major food source. Essential to their survival."
"How does that relate to this scene?"
"Well, my son and daughter were fully aware that something bad was about to happen. We never like to think so, but even the youngest of kids know everything. So what we have here is a cloudless sunny day. And yet here comes a deluge. Symbolic of the impending breakup of the family."
"I assume your son is off to the left, manning the hose, and your daughter is under the umbrellas?"
"Yes. Like the cave painters they're acting out a desire to gain control over their lives, to master the survival strategies they'll employ as adults."
"My son, the aggressive warrior. My daughter, the genius at self-defense."
"Would your kids have engaged in this particular behavior if you and your wife weren't having problems?"
The professor smiled. "Were I emotionally invested in my intellectual speculations, I'd reply no, of course not. They would have done something entirely different."
"But you're not invested?"
"No. After all, what we're doing right now is, itself, merely play. Isn't it?"