A Case of the Human Condition: Spring’s Here — And So Is That Guy With His Camera


Our star magnolia and, Jim, its biggest fan.

Our magnolia and Jim, its biggest fan.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

He shows up every spring. Some years we see him. Some years we don’t.

He shows up at our house just as dozens of daffodils are showing their bright, ridiculously optimistic faces all over the neighborhood and the show-offy star magnolia in our front yard is glorious with blossoms.

Every year he arrives with his camera to try yet again for the perfect shot of the perfect magnolia.

This year I spotted him just as I’d pulled my car out of our driveway and was heading downhill to the camera shop.

I stopped the car and rolled down my window. “Hey, are you the guy who takes pictures of our magnolia every year?”

“Yes. I hope I’m not intruding.”

“Not at all.” I check my rear view mirrow for cars coming down the hill behind me. “How long have you been doing it?:”

“About ten years.”

“Well, this year I’ve got my camera with me. So I’d like to take a picture of you taking a picture.”

“No problem.”

Photos c 2010 B.F. Newhall

Photos 2010 B.F. Newhall

Click.  And click. I get two shots. Now there’s a car looming in my rear view mirror.

“Gotta go. See you next year. What’s your name?”

“Jim . . . . ”

The guy in the car behind me does not honk in frustration.

Of course he doesn’t. It’s spring.


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