If you’re going to peep our leaves, at least pull over first…


Mornin, all.

I should be working on cover art. Right this very minute, I should not be talking to you at all. I should be staring at incredibly enlarged pixels on my computer screen, straining my eyes in an effort to decide if that teeny tiny not-quite-black outline looks better than the teeny tiny not-quite-gray outline. I mean, the summer was jam packed and the book is being released WAY later than I initially planned. I’m so close to the finish line.

And yet, here I am, sipping my coffee and chattin’ your eyes off. What can I say? I’m a rebel. I work on my own time line and “the man” can go suck it!

“Um, Bethie? Aren’t you an indie author who works on her own time line regardless?”

Shh. Lemme enjoy the moment.

I slept in, too. It felt wonderful. I am a creature of habit and find it incredibly hard to break those habits, even for something as blissful as an extra hour of slumber. No matter what time I go to bed, no matter how badly I could use a few more Zs, my eyes will almost always pop open and stay open like clockwork. Not today, though! Perhaps that’s what’s fueling my rebellion.

“But it’s not really a…”


The sunrise out my window right now is fantastic. It’s this odd purply-pink sky which is making the air itself look like I’m staring through rose-colored glasses. This morning’s metaphor brought to you by Mother Nature.

I wish I was better at using my camera and could capture the essence of the air. I’m not very good at photography and the pictures would probably come out just looking like I have the gamma set incorrectly on my monitor. Taking a picture is easy. Taking a photograph that transcends the visual and somehow gives you the feeling the photographer was seeking, that’s harder. That’s an art.

My dad was good at photography, true photography with thought and feeling behind the pieces. He could make his camera see beyond the snapshot and capture the aura of the moment. I’ve taken a few lucky shots in my day, and a couple of them frustrated him to no end. He said, “How the hell did you manage to get that shot, Bean?” (er…family nickname…just forget I mentioned…) He’d obsess. “How did you do that? What settings did you use? What was your shutter speed?” on and on. He was rather an obsesser when he got his mind focused on something. A dad with a camera instead of a dog with a bone.

Thing is, I didn’t have any idea how I got those shots. It was flat out luck, not skill, and I totally own that. I’m not bragging about the one in a thousand shots I snap that actually come out looking good. I’d brag if I could do it intentionally.

I’ve got a digital camera. It’s older now, but it was a good model at the time it was purchased and has many automatic features. I fiddled with one thing, pushed the other thing, and the photography elves that live inside it worked double-time to reproduce the image. Yes. All of my knowledge of how a camera works was obtained while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child.

How do I get good shots? I point the camera and push the button and hope the elves brought their “A” game. That’s how.

You want to know how to really piss a true photographer off? Say just that.

Photography is an art form. I’m not talking about what most of us do, me included. I’m not talking about just “taking pictures.” The majority of us idiots with cameras can point and click and get one good shot if we press the button enough times. A real photographer knows how to do this intentionally, how to make you feel like you’re back there, completely in that moment in not just looks but feeling, too, when you look at the work, and that’s an art form I truly respect. My dad was a true photographer, and it’s a shame he never did it for anything more than a hobby.

I am not a photographer. I can see the picture I want and feel the mood I would like to document. I just can’t figure out how to make the camera elves archive it as a whole package. I take a lot of nice looking pictures. I have taken only a handful of photographs. I wish I could do what my dad did, but, honestly, I’m okay with just pictures for the most part. Photography is an art form I haven’t mastered, but might some day, and might is good enough for me.

Besides, what I lack in skill I make up for in abundance! I’ve got a whole lot of pictures, and the odds are ever in my favor that when I take a bunch, at least one will end up being decent.

It’s peak leaf season here at the moment. The trees have turned from greens to every other color, blanketing the hills with the patchwork of autumn. It seems like it would be the perfect weekend for Leaf Peepers.

“Bean, what is a…”

Whoa. Did you just call me Bean? You don’t know me like that.

“*achem* Sorry. Bethie…”

That’s better.

“What in the hell is a Leaf Peeper?”

A Leaf Peeper is a tourist that drives up from Connecticut in their Cadillac or Lincoln to swerve and veer all over the road at ridiculously low speeds because they are too busy looking at the damn leaves on the trees to let silly things like laws and safety govern their trip.

Okay, that’s a bit unfair. Some of them drive Tauruses.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with Leaf Peepers in theory. In fact, some of them take tours on great big buses, and those are the ones we like. They will sit in the bus and ooh and ahh out the windows safely, then get off at various gift shops and spend their out-of-state money on our commemorative baubles. Those are the good kinds of Leaf Peepers. Any of you reading this that are considering hopping on one of those leaf tour buses headed for New Hampshire, welcome! Come in! Have a look at our beautiful leaves and pick up a souvenir for your grandchild while you’re here!

But drivers who come to look at the leaves in their own vehicles with no intention of actually pulling the hell over and stopping the two ton weapon because they are too distracted by red and orange leaves to operate it safely are the bane of New England autumn roads. If you are planning on being one of those Leaf Peepers…just no. Nope. New Hampshire is closed. Stay in Connecticut and google “NH autumn.”

It’s shaping up to be a bad day for peeping leaves anyway, so you best just stay home and save some gas. A weather front is coming through and it’s supposed to rain all day. Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, but the rain will strip a lot of those pretty leaves and plaster them to the ground, leaving nothing but barren branches. I have a feeling there will be several bus loads of disappointed tourists this weekend.

Not me, though. I knew the rain was coming so I decided to take advantage of the nice weather yesterday and go around town snapping some pics of the beautiful foliage.

You see, one of the reasons people come up over and over is because every year, the foliage is different. You can look out at your maple tree in the back yard, the same tree year after year, and see a different display in the leaves. Many things affect how the foliage will look, from the amount of moisture through the summer, to temperature, to ambient air quality factors… It’s never the same scene twice.

Last year, the foliage was drab. And by drab I mean it was all this yellowy brown sad color that seemed to be a warning that we were in for one sucky winter. “Resign yourselves, people. There is no hope,” the colorless note from Mother Nature read.

This year, we’ve had a few bursts of just amazing color. However, it’s odd. The trees are changing slowly, many having the super bright leaves only on one branch, while the rest of the tree is completely green. It’s bizarre and unique, and that’s what makes a native still look forward to the fall foliage no matter how many years they’ve lived here to see it.

Yesterday I just had to document this autumn, these leaves. I drove around. I pulled over *achem, CONNECTICUT* and got out. I took many pictures. I got one photograph, completely by accident. The setting was “automatic natural lighting” and the shutter speed was “dunno”. But, I like looking at it, and I plan on doing so often this winter when the snow has whitewashed the world and I have a desperate need to remember what color is.

Oh wow. I just glanced down at the time and I don’t want to be rude or anything, especially since you’re in such a chatty mood and all, but I really should be getting back to work. No offense, and I’ll be happy to listen to your story after I get this done. Deadlines and all. You understand.


Have a good weekend. Kiss the kids. Tell the Mrs. I said hello!

“Bethie, you’re the one…”

*door shuts*

*clock ticks in the empty room*

*things get awkward*

…*maybe it’s time to leave*

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Saturday, October 4, 2014. *I’m already hard at work and can’t spare a moment to add a closing, so just use your imagination and fill in this blank with something you think I’d say*


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