Fall

Holding a skinny leash, a woman walking a tiny black and white terrier
navigated the trail around another middle aged woman who awkwardly wielded
a giant silver reflector. A Nikon dangled from the strap around the
2nd woman’s neck. “I hope you get some good shots” said the woman with
her dog. “It’s fleeting” she quietly added. It sounded like an afterthought.
The dog was wearing a teal and orange striped sweater and he seemed familiar
with their route as he took tiny uphill steps. The photographer’s subject,
a teenage boy in a buffalo plaid flannel shirt, tentatively made his way
along the shore and stood on a rock, turning to face the camera. His back
was to the stream as he positioned himself for the photo, and behind him,
on the far side of the creek, the trees were dancing in fall glory. Umber,
crimson, jade, saffron. The colors simultaneously blending and distinct.
This background created a dreamy contrast to the boy’s JCrew plaid and
sheepish expression. He uncomfortably stared at his sneakers as the woman
fiddled with her camera, the shiny giant frisbee temporarily blocking the
path as I tried to pass. “I’m in the way” she said as she stooped to pull
the reflector out of my way and I stepped closer to the boy and around the
woman. Maybe this was his senior portrait being orchestrated, I thought.
Or, more likely, just a son humoring his mother and her hobby on a overcast
Saturday afternoon. The dog walkers whisper, “it’s fleeting,” echoed as I passed.

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