Monday, October 18, 2010

Confessions of a Peeper

     Hello everyone. My name is Beth Daly, and I am a peeper.  It's an addiction that I have long succumbed to, and thankfully, one that happens to occur only seasonally, so it is an obsession with which I can live.  It starts to creep up on you after that initial crisp fall morning, when the first frost of the season has iced the ground and the sky deepens to an azure blue so intense that you have to stop just to stare into its depth. A red leaf appears on the maple and a tingling starts in your veins, a craving in your gut, and you know it's time. You have to go look. You have to go stare. You have to succumb to your addiction and satisfy your longing. Yes, I admit, I am a leaf peeper.
     It would be I that was one of the two million peeepers crawling along the hills and curves of the North Carolina mountains during this past weekend. And yes, I was blaspheming and cursing all the other peepers for invading my territory, for stealing my views, and for staring at my leaves. This was my addiction, but suddenly, it seemed to be the obsession du jour, as my normally quiet drive along the twisty mountainous backroads became reminiscent of a holiday interstate. Streams of unseasoned mountain drivers tried to navigate unpaved, tortuous curves and inclines, backing up traffic for miles as fellow peepers slowed, stopped, stared, and then crept along the parkway.
    But oh, it was so worth the effort, as the full glory of God was splashed across the hills. Each red and gold and amber leaf  lit the mountain tops with such a fiery glow that it made you gasp and point and throw up your arms and laugh at the beauty of it all. It had to be shared. It was too awe-inspiring for just one man's eyes, and so I denounced my fury at the traffic and  rolled down my windows and laughed and called to my fellow peepers, "Look! Isn't this wonderful!
    It was a weekend of crisp and sweet Mutsu apples, the first roaring fire of fall, steaming mugs of hot cocoa and cider. It was a weekend of  wooly worm races to predict the severity of the coming winter weather.  It was a much needed and long anticipated five day break from classes.  It was a time to stroll along lakes and crunch through leaves. It was a time to sniff the seasoned wood- smoke rising from fall's first fires.  It was a time to watch migrating geese and homeward-bound ducks as they cut across the sky, only pausing  for a short rest on the cold mountain lake.     
And so, I, a confessed and unrehabilitated leaf peeper, a raging addict to fall's brilliant show, yes, I, I fed my addiction with abundance, with guilt-free indulgence. I crept along the parkway with the speed of a snail. I filled my eyes with visions long to be remembered, and I breathed in the scent of fall and tasted it's bounty. I clogged the parkway and filled up the overlooks. I snapped hundreds of pictures hoping to catch the brilliance of the sun reflecting off the reds and golds of the trees. I saturated my soul with the glory of fall and bowed my head and thanked my Creator for this moment in time. 
 And so, I stand before you today and say, my name is Beth Daly, and yes, I confess, without shame and without guilt, with no intention of ever seeking rehabilitation or help, with abundance I shout and with glee I confess,

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