As an aspiring photographer, I tend to look at things differentlythan most. But I, too, have taken for granted what I see every day.
The “leafpeepers,” as we call them, are usually older couples who appear in our town in lateSeptember. They are recognized by their earth-toned clothing and camera bags, which go hand-in-handwith the look of curiosity and contentment that come from the fall foliage. Most arrive to visitfamily, or for a quick getaway to see the colors of the trees and smell the autumn air of Vermont.We all have seen the enormous coaches towering over our little cars on Main Street.
Bennington seems to come to life between the end of summer and the first snowfall for manyreasons: its history, the small businesses where friendly people are eager to help, and theastonishing views of the mountains that you can see from almost anywhere in town. Yet we all wonderwhy people choose to come here, of all places, because we are so used to seeing the BenningtonMonument and Mount Anthony. People from around the country think we are lucky to have these views,these beautiful mountains that surround our little valley, but we just shrug off all theappreciation.
This fall, I decided to try to look through different eyes. I adopted thesight of a visitor, choosing to look at things as if I had never seen them before. I transformedmyself into a leaf peeper.
To tell the truth, it didn’t take much, only the abilityto slow down. In our technology-filled, fast-paced world, it may be hard for some. Even thoughpatience is definitely not one of my virtues, I found it rather easy to stop and smell the roses... or rather, the leaves.
The world seems calmer, quieter and much more beautiful when seenthrough opened eyes. All I’m asking is that everyone look around. One of my teachers stoppedin the middle of class recently, looked out the window, and exclaimed, “Wow, we really have abeautiful view from that window.”
The pictures I take reflect how I see the world.Whether a landscape or a detailed image of something simple, the world is a canvas. The picture hasbeen painted, and it changes in a pattern throughout the year, but each change has beauty.
Would it be too much to ask everyone to take a day to look around? Open your mind to theimages in front of you; look toward the top of mountains, see what shapes the clouds make, estimatewhat colors the leaves will be on trees, and pick a star to wish on every night.
If anyonefollows my advice, it won’t improve my life in any way, but it will help people see thingsmore clearly. The leaves aren’t thinking of the chaos of the week to come or where they willbe a year from now, they just go about their business without worry. Take a moment to look aroundat the worrisome people compared to the calm leaves. Realize the beauty that is in front of us, andtake a picture. You’ll see why people say we are lucky.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.