Photo essay: Trespassing in beautiful NH neighbors’ yards!

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GailI remember growing up being young and carefree. I didn’t see the colors of the fall or the beautiful flowers with every color of the rainbow, popping out in my neighbor’s yard. It didn’t seem to matter in those days. I had other things on the brain. Playing with my childhood friends. One, two, three red light and masked marble. I remember skunking a few friends with all their marbles just to give them back and do it again.

We didn’t have all of today’s gadgets but somehow we always amused ourselves. Dodgeball, movies in the shed, and making a home with the leaves out in the parking lot. I really don’t remember when I started to notice God’s beauty in the flowers. It just happened!

That saying, “Stop and smell the roses,” means to me to take time in your day and relax and see the world around us. Make time for you. What is it you love to do? I like to say, “Stop and see the flowers.” They are at every corner and on many of my walk-a-bouts. My camera is attached to my hip as I never know what will be in bloom at that time and I like capturing the beauty of my neighbor’s flowers or wherever my travels take me in New Hampshire.

Recently I was trying to teach a few friends how to capture photos of Lilacs for this year’s competition. I tell them if I can win so can they. It’s an adventure looking for a photo around the neighborhood of lilacs in bloom. “Stop the car,” I scream!    There’s a fence over there with lilacs, trying to teach my friend Kim how to capture a winning shot. Hold it like this, get down lower and aim up. Get the swerve of the fence with the lilacs. She got the hang of it after a while and with fingers crossed I am hoping she wins one of the prizes. I laugh as I like to trespass on property sometimes. I got to get that perfect shot. “Come on,” I tell her, “come up on the property.” “You’re killing me she says,” “people are looking at us from their window!” I look up, show them my camera with the thumbs up and I am golden. I am thinking Kim will be a winner this year. Her shot was fabulous! Kim’s shots grace my home in frames.

One time in Hillsboro,  with my friend Laurie, a woman did come out to see what we were up to. I tell her I love their flowers and trying to win a contest. I tell her how beautiful the wall with the lilacs are and she’s happy. Someone loves her landscaping. A compliment goes a long way. Shoot away as much as you want. We are in like Flynn and we capture some beautiful shots on this day. I know Laurie gained some insight from me and my lessons. One of her pictures sits on a side table in my home. It’s beautiful!

Another friend Diane loves to take photos with me too. I try to show her what I know. She too can capture quite the photo. Our latest shots are of Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester. With a new addition of flowers, it makes it “Picture Perfect.” My favorite photo of hers was the Hummingbird moth. It was fantastic! I have to frame it soon.

I am hoping her shot of a fence with two lilacs peeking over win for her this year. Time will tell but, as always, we have quite the adventures, and many a laugh.

My friend Helen needs no lessons. Actually she has taught me through the years. I watch as I learn from her. One of my favorite of hers sits in my living room. A field of sunflowers with the white mountains in the background. That shot is incredible but it’s the moments and the laughs that I love the most. Winning or NOT winning, it’s the adventures we have.

One day comes to mind with Helen. We were on a road trip with our husbands and we stop to see where we have to go next. Helen spots flowers with many monarchs flying around. We both jump out to capture the beauty from the wall. I tell her I am going in. I have to get closer. She says, “Gail, we will get caught.” I then proceeded to tell her that I was getting close with or without her, as I walked into the yard. By now I could hear our husbands laughing in the car watching all this unfold. Helen followed and I taught her that day to trespass. It was only after we came out that we got stopped by police. What could they say? Their town was beautiful!!! Trespassing makes the best pictures and people LOVE to hear about how beautiful their property is. After that Helen always trespassed with me. No questions asked. We have some amazing photos to prove it.

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These pictures that are here are all mine. Some from when I was with my friends and some that I zoomed in, as I didn’t want to climb a fence. I have enlarged some pictures and framed them. I would then take them back to the homeowners and give them a framed photo. The smiles are wonderful and the compliments are nice. They are forever grateful. Small things go a long way. One time I knocked at a door and it turned out to be someone I knew. Small world, I thought to myself. Small world indeed, with many colorful flowers to stop and smell!!!

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Take the time and see God’s beauty. Enjoy the pictures through my eyes! Some are from my own backyard!

P.S. This was my first place winner last year with “The Governor’s Wildflower and Lilac Commission”:

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The moral of this story: It doesn’t cost a thing to look at New Hampshire’s beauty, just remember to trespass. It makes for great pictures and beautiful adventures!


carol-2Gail Durant is the fourth-oldest from a family of 13 children. She has lived in Manchester her whole life with the exception of one year in Hillsboro. She worked for 41 years in shoe shops, laundry and manufacturing and fully retired five years ago. She lost her husband Bob almost three years ago to brain cancer, and is currently writing a book about their love story, Bob’s diagnosis, and the signs she receives from him, to this day. Proceeds from the book will go to charities to help children in some way and also for brain cancer research.  She resides in Manchester with her dog, Miss Spirit (short for Christmas Spirit) and has a daughter she adopted a few years ago, who came into her life at age 7 and is now 40. She has enjoyed photography most of her life, and loves taking random shots, and spinning the thoughts she has into stories, with pictures.

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About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of ManchesterInkLink.com. Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!