Mount Monadnock, Dublin, NH

This, gentle readers, is the Money Shot: the image that leaf-peepers from miles around flock to southern New Hampshire to see in the fall. There’s a conveniently located pull-off on Route 101 in Dublin, NH where you can photograph Mount Monadnock as seen above Howe Reservoir, and it is a pretty picture. Somehow, though, I always feel cheap and common when I use the “usual” roadside stops to snap the “usual” pictures. It feels as though any moment Mother Nature is going to rise up from her photogenic pose to shout out “Next!” with a crass, jaded tone, tired from servicing too many admirers in too short a time. Take a number and get in line, bud!

Church spire, Dublin, NH

Today I’m keeping busy with grading catch-up, so I’m taking the easy way out blog-wise by posting the usual photos of the usual autumnal sights. It’s probably impossible to count the number of times people have photographed the steeple of the Dublin Community Church juxtaposed against the changing maples out front: this is just one of those quintessential images that everyone has to capture for themselves even though everyone else has already been there and done that. When I lived in Boston, I’d sometimes watch tourists take photos of Trinity Church backdropped or reflected by the Hancock Tower: that particular juxtaposition of old and new is an image that seemingly every single tourist to Beantown feels the need to capture. When I lived in Boston, I didn’t walk with a camera: the only photos I have of my Boston and Cambridge days are photos I snapped of various apartments, my way of showing my non-traveling family back in Ohio where I lived. Now when I return to Boston or Cambridge as an out-of-state tourist (a recovering Bay-Stater?), I don’t know what to photograph, feeling myself pulled between the usual touristy shots and the up-close and personal pictures that only an inhabitant would think of shooting.

I don’t live in Dublin, NH, so I don’t know what sort of images an inhabitant would capture. But when I look through the photos I took these past couple of days while either walking or driving through Dublin and other small towns within a Sunday’s drive of Keene, this photo is my favorite:

Campsite

If after all my wooing Mother Nature would agree to lie down with me, here’s where I’d prefer to bed her. Although the usual postcard shots are fine, I’m not interested in a whorish tryst alongside a busy, tourist-jammed road. Nope, I think Mother Nature looks her best in seclusion, cloaked in leaves, at the end of a leaf-strewn path that forks off a little-traveled hiking trail. This isn’t virgin land: someone was here to blaze the trail and lay down a tent platform. But here under wind-strewn leaves, you see Nature’s lonelier, lovelier side. Here, she’s grateful for some company; here, she’ll nestle close and whisper secrets in your ear.