The beauty of a Sunday drive in fall

So I went for a drive on Sunday afternoon to better see and appreciate the glorious fall colors that are showing off their best about now. It all makes for a lovely little trip, if you can just find the ultimate scenery.

Have you ever noticed that the prettiest trees seem somehow to always be just beyond reach when you’re driving around to view the fall scenery? Or if you do see a cluster that seems just right for a picture, when you get there it’s not so great after all?

But I still keep attempting that elusive perfect fall scenery photo, although I know better. Even when I find the perfect shot that I had in mind, after I take it and get it printed I’m usually rather disappointed because what I have is just a little square of the magnificent panorama that was before me. And how can that possibly do justice to what I see?

I remember feeling the same way when I lived in New England, where – especially for an Iowa farm girl -it felt like there was more natural beauty around me than I could ever really appreciate. The shots taken from the summit of a mountain are okay, particularly if you haven’t been there to see the view in person. But when you’ve done that, what you see in a little square is often rather disappointing to me.

But to get back to my quest for the perfect picture of the fall scenery that surrounds us this time of year here in the middle of Iowa, I’m beginning to think that the point is to just appreciate what I see, to drink it in without concern for what I see through the camera lens, the composition of the shot, or the location of the trees. The picture will be in my mind’s eye, not the computer printer.

All too often now – especially with the technology that is available at our fingertips – it seems to me that we are concerned with preserving the experience we’re watching rather than really being involved at the moment. Some things just aren’t the same when seen through a camera lens, you know. Sometimes I wonder about the many parents who are videotaping every concert or ball game. Aren’t they missing something even as they try to keep it?

Sure, it’s fun to have that event preserved to watch again and again later perhaps, but I’m not so sure it’s better than enjoying the moment at the moment – not unlike just simply enjoying a Sunday fall drive for all the glorious beauty that God has put there for us to appreciate.