Send A Yankee Card. Please.

And if you do, there are several from which you may choose, photographed by me. All half dozen, which I submitted a year or so ago, were “accepted”. It led me to speculate as to whether or not Yankee Magazine simply “accepted” all photographs. Nah.

I’d forgotten about the photos until a few weeks ago when I stopped by the Yankee Magazine website to rifle through my online recipe box. Lo and behold, two of my photos were listed in their yankeeE-CARD Gallery, Top 20 Most Viewed and Top 20 Most Sent ratings.

Maple Sugaring was photographed on a blustery, bitter-cold day in mid-March a couple years ago. In fact, it’s time I come clean. I didn’t actually technically snap the camera’s shutter even though, quite clearly, the Yankee Magazine website lists my name as “Photographer”.

Yes, I was the one who spotted the maple buckets from a 50 mph moving vehicle. Knowing it would make a great shot, I am admittedly the one who whipped a u-turn in the middle of the narrow country road causing everyone to gasp and say, “what? what’s going on?”. And it was my very own cry of “Oh! Oh! Perfect shot! Perfect shot!” that drew everyone else’s eyes to those becoming-a-rare-scene buckets. And yes, I was the one who backed up, pulled forward, backed up, pulled forward until I could say with absolute certainty, “This is THE shot!”.

Here comes the part where I didn’t take the “shot”. I coaxed my always-warm-blooded husband out of the car, into the bone-chilling wind. I started getting out of the car. I really did. But we’d spent the morning at Parker’s Maple Barn sitting next to a crisply burning fire, sipping from hot mugs of coffee, downing steaming pancakes and red flannel hash. Goodness but these New England winds could have ripped that little bit of cozy, comfy, serenity right off my bones in one blast. Instead of missing the photographic opportunity, I did the next best thing. I turned to my beloved better-than-an-electric-blanket man and inquired, “Didn’t you mention, just the other day, you wanted to try your hand at photography?”. Before I could continue with more persuasive arguments that were piling up in my brain faster than a snowdrift during a March blizzard, he was out of the car before I could even blink.

Truthfully, as long as I’m confessing, the camera was a very unexpected, and much appreciated Christmas gift from him and this was the first time I’d let anyone, including him, touch it. I think the poor guy was shocked I’d let it out of my hands and he wasn’t going to turn down any opportunity, no matter the weather conditions.

Through a series of hand signals, nods or shakes of my head and enthusiastic smiles, he lined up the shot exactly where I wanted him to. Oh, I can hear him now…..”I knew that was the shot. It was obvious. You didn’t have to direct me THAT much….”. So by all rights, the photographer should forevermore be acknowledged as Mark Ericson. Oh, that’s right. There is the little issue about how I cropped the photo to its best advantage in PhotoShop but..well, it’s a very small issue. Good job, honey!

Cypripedium acaule is the other photo that has been pretty popular as a Yankee greeting card. Amazingly, the woods on our property are covered with these in late spring, early summer. Even more amazing, we’d spent two springs without exploring the woods during the very short life span of these incredible beauties. It wasn’t until my daughter, Sarah, was chasing after snakes, in her own version of “Crocodile Hunter” that she discovered their presence, rushing back to the house to tell me. I was overjoyed that the insistent pounding on the door and yelling of “Mommy! Mommy!” didn’t, for once, mean a bounty of snakes. Off to the woods we went, armed with my camera and bug spray. The setting appears to be idyllic. Fortunately, there’s no soundtrack to capture the true moment – the droning buzz of mosquitoes, hands slapping flesh, and cries of “oh, I hate those things!”.

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