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Look at leaves at normal speeds
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We have been stuck behind Mr. and Mrs. Leaf Peeper for 45 minutes. Sue and I are on our way home from the grocery store; they are on vacation. It's nice to be on vacation, to not have a worry in the world, to wander wherever the wind blows you, to be awed by the wonder of nature, to slow down and admire every new vista in brilliant, flaming colors.
But do you have to do it in front of us?
"Let's ram them," Sue said.
I'm not sure she knew she was thinking aloud, but she had read my mind. Dumb, stupid nature. Dumb, stupid beauty. We've got things to do. It must be swell to have the time to look at dead leaves, but we've got gutters to clean, bulbs to plant, patio furniture to stow away for the winter, storm windows to install. Most of all, I've got a lawn full of beautiful leaves to rake.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I guess I'll be holding about 20 beautiful giant leaf bags before the day is through. If I ever get home. The leaf lovers ahead of us are now stuck behind other leaf lovers who are even slower than they are. Where do these drivers who have never seen leaves before come from? If they live within driving distance, they must have leaves of their very own.
Oh, but they want to see them at their peak. Nothing but the best for them. Two days before peak, why even get out of bed? Two days after peak? What kind of chump would want to look at leaves two days after they peak?
Or maybe our leaves are different from their leaves. Our leaves turn red and yellow; maybe theirs turn pink with purple polka dots.
Hard to believe they're just dead leaves. If you look at them close-up, they're dirty, spotted, misshapen, full of bugs. They're not very pretty at all. Is yellow a better color than green? Is rusty brown a better color than green? I think green can hold its own with all the other colors.
Whoa, what's this? The leaf-huggers have their right blinker on. Finally! There's a pull-off for the overlook up ahead. Yes, get off the road!
As we follow them with our eyes, making sure this isn't some leaf-peeping trick -- that suddenly they'll change their minds and swerve back in front of us at 20 mph -- we get a view of the hills and valleys below us.
It was as if a bright red and gold rainbow had fallen to the ground so we could see what it looked like close-up. We slowed down and followed the leaf-peepers into the overlook.
It turned out the "tourists" were from the next town. They didn't know why, but they'd decided to take the day off and drive around.
We decided to take the rest of the day off, too. The storm windows could wait; who wants to clean gutters on a day like this anyway?
Contact Jim Mullen at