the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Turning Over a New Leaf


I fasted today, but I didn’t go to temple for Yom Kippur.  I just didn’t feel like going.  On Yom Kippur, there is an important memorial service, and it would have been the first time going to the service for my father, and I just didn’t want to do it.  So, instead, I just broke all the rules.  I went to CVS pharmacy, bought myself a $3.99 disposable camera and walked to Hermosa Beach.  It felt very spiritual walking around the beach looking for photos to take.  Or then again, it could have just been hunger.

If you have any interest, you can see the photos here.  One warning:  the photos are not THAT interesting, and I’m not in any of them, so don’t get too pissed at making you do an extra click of the mouse for nothing.   If you’re never been this this part of the country, maybe you can get a sense of the “sleepy” beach community I’m living in right now. 


I’ve grown to like Southern California, but I find October depressing in the dry West.  I love FALL.  I love what it represents — a new beginning.  I think the time of the Jewish New Year makes a lot more sense than January 1st.   I love the change of the weather and the leaves and the new school year and the new TV season, and everything new that goes with Fall.  As I was taking my walk today, I realized that today’s weather in Los Angeles was not that much different than it was on July 4th!  Where’s the change? 

Most of my blogging friends do NOT live in California.  I know you sometimes laugh at us for being weird and electing actors to be governor, uh – TWICE.   But try to remember that the State of California has enhanced your life in many ways:  the birth of the internet, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, California Pizza Kitchen, and the word “gnarly.” 

Now it is your turn to pay us back —

Could someone help a Southern Californian who is homesick for Fall and email him a photo of a leaf or tree changing colors?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Man in the Mirror


  1. Sarah

    I’ve been to California… it was so nice there in winter.

    I blogged some Autumn leaves a while back. (It’s spring here now.) There’s more than that in my archives.

  2. V-Grrrl

    While we do get nice crisp days, Fall in Belgium is more rusty than colorful. The leaves take FOREVER to change and most seem to go from green dirty yellow to brown. Last year the leaves didn’t change until November and a significant number were still on the trees in December. Very strange because I’m at that same latitude as Newfoundland, Canada!

  3. Lux Lisbon

    correct me if i’m wrong, but isn’t it spring that represents the new begining? in fall everything just dies…

  4. Felicity

    You know I’ll send you pix…you already know about my love affair with my camera. But let me say too that I’ve visited SoCal several times…family in Dana Point…and I love it there any time of year. I’d live in Cali in a minute, if my lover wasn’t here on the east coast.

  5. kristen

    That is why I probably won’t move back to So Cal anytime soon; I would desperately miss the changing seasons which I love. And like you, I agree, that the new year makes much more sense than January. See how well I’m adopting my new, Jewish self?
    I will deluge your email box with Fall changing colors in the next few weeks. My town isn’t named after a maple tree for nothing!

  6. Suzette

    Please add In-N-Out Burger to the list of California life enhancements. And that, my good man, is our connection because although I live in New Jersey, I once stopped in at the In-N-Out in Redondo Beach! There is your red and gold glory.

  7. LisaBinDaCity

    I used to miss Fall when I lived in LA as well. But, if you are really, REALLY good, I will send you a leaf when I go upstate next week.

    Happy now? 😉

  8. Elisabeth

    I sent you a couple of pics I took from my balcony this morning. The leaves haven’t really “turned” much yet here.

  9. justrun

    I am at work right now so I can’t email a photo but I have a Fall post whirling around in my brain and I think I’ll post it tonight- with pictures!
    (This is not a shameless way to get you to my blog, it’s the truth. Promise!) 🙂

  10. Bre

    If I had a camera with me… but alas, I don’t.

    I’ve only been living here since January, so this is my first fall in “the mountains” and let me tell you – it’s amazing. The colors seem more vibrant the farther you go from the city.

  11. Miriam

    Ever since my mother died, I have felt depressed by the Yizkor service. But hell, I miss her.

  12. Dagny

    I’ll send you a photo later. Because in Berkeley we have trees that are indeed changing colors. I know this because I made the mistake of parking near one that dropped a bunch of leaves on my car. *sigh*

  13. e.

    Oh, I’ll certainly send you a photo later. I love fall, too! To tide you over, though, stock.xchng has some great fall photos. Ahem, a lot better than mine, actually…

  14. cruisin-mom

    I just wrote a post about loving fall…yes, even here in Los Angeles. I see it as a beginning too…it’s my favorite time of year.

  15. thephoenixnyc

    And don’t forget, the crisp air, green grass and start of Yankees playoff baseball.

  16. schmutzie

    As soon as I get a chance, I’ll download my fall weekend pictures from my camera and send you one or two. I think I forgot to change my camera settings, so they may be black and white, but you’ll get the idea.

  17. Alison

    The leaves haven’t turned much here in Pennsyltucky, as Elisabeth said. But as soon as they do, I’ll be taking photos! I haven’t seen an American fall since 1993. It was one of the things I missed most when I lived in France. V-Grrrl’s description of leaves in Belgium is pretty much how it happens in France, too.

  18. Sweet

    When I see one I’ll snap one for ya.

  19. Cover Your Mouth

    I knew I put my camera in my purse for some reason today! Right now I’m downtown where there are no leaves, so I’ll have to email you a pic later today. Chicago winters are soul-crushing, but the fall (however short) almost makes up for it.

  20. Pearl

    Neil, I was in synagogue repenting for my (supposedly many) sins…but after seeing your truly beautiful and serene photos, a part of me is wistful for what you chose to do on Yom Kippur. You communed with nature and a camera. I communed with the big photographer in the sky.

  21. sarah g

    Hi 🙂
    I sent you some pictures, from last years fall. Not much this year other than felled leaves thus far! The one looks ‘painted’, its not. Plus in honor of your ‘film school years’, there is a pretentious like shot from my friend 🙂


  22. Neil

    Lux Lisbon — You make a good point about “Spring” seeming the natural new beginning, but I actually like like the “dying” aspect of Fall. At least the trees die in a dramatic, colorful way, like a character in All My Children. And just like in a soap opera, a tree always comes back to life six months later!

  23. Jessica

    Mine has been sent!

  24. treespotter

    for some reason i can’t upload files at the moment, but do find a copy of Omaha, by the Counting Crows.

    Have a good week, Neil.

  25. Non-Highlighted Heather

    But try to remember that the State of California has enhanced your life in many ways: the birth of the internet, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, California Pizza Kitchen, and the word “gnarly.”


  26. nelumbo

    I miss the Midwest fall, with the change of colors, too. Must make a trip to the mountains soon! Luckily we’re not far away to the Smokies.

  27. Tara

    Hey, I’ll send you some via e-mail when I get home, but I posted a bunch on Friday just for people like you.

    Here is Iowa in the fall:

  28. Bama Girl

    I’m right there with you, Neil–missing fall. I hear our weather is supposed to turn a little cooler this weekend. It will be high 70’s instead of low 80’s. I can’t complain though. The weather here is 100% better than anywhere else I’ve ever lived!

  29. Nance

    We haven’t come near to hitting peak yet in NE Ohio, Neil. The maple in the front yard is still bright green. As soon as we get goin’, I’ll send pix.

  30. brooke

    I agree with absolutely everything in this post.


  31. Jody

    The leaves haven’t begun to turn yet here in Atlanta. I gave myself a task to remind myself to send you a picture when peak colors are in “season”

  32. Neil

    I guess the color changes start up in the colder North first…

    Or Jody, I even have a better idea — when it starts changing color in Georgia, how about I give you my address and you actually SEND me a leaf in the mail?  How cool would that be?  I’ve never seen a Georgia leaf before.   I could tape it to my monitor!

  33. Jody

    Ok Neil, I’m game. There are plenty of trees to pick from outside my condo. I will see what I can do.

  34. wendy

    Leaves are blazing away in Denver. I was born in fall so I have a whole internal clock thing going..I grew up going to my great auntie beach house in Hermosa. She had this big three wheeled bike she would ride down the strand. Her house was pink..and right behind Winchelle’s doughnuts. A block and a half to that wide hot beach. My mom used to carry me across the sand so I wouldn’t burn my feet. Sometimes I’d just hang out at the house…With Aunties and crucifixes and Lawrence Welch. Such a strong memory…

  35. Lux Lisbon

    good point!

  36. kapgar

    I’ll give you credit for CPK, but I never got into Buffy. Sorry.

    Anytime you wanna see a real fall, check my Flickr site. You know where to find it. Got a bunch of shots up from last year. I’m sure I’ll take more this year.

  37. molly

    But try to remember that the State of California has enhanced your life in many ways: the birth of the internet, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, California Pizza Kitchen, and the word “gnarly.”

    …also, fish tacos, real burritos, sourdough bread, proper (ie, OVER the water) sunsets, redwoods, sushi-at-baseball-games and honest to goodness FOG — irreplacable, each and every one. Your pics make me homesick!

  38. Leesa

    I’ll send you one 😉
    Can you wait till I get back home?

  39. deannie

    I totally LOVE Autumn as well. You know what I did when I lived in Ramona (outside of San Diego)? I planted some liquid amber trees and the colors they produce with a bit of cold is FANTASTIC. The colors here in D.C. haven’t been too brilliant … 🙁

  40. Paris Parfait

    Yes, fall is my favourite season and it´s passing me by – doesn´t seem to exist in Seville, where it´s perpetual summer or at least sunshine.

  41. Joan

    Check out the first three pic’s on my blog. That should give you your fall fix!!

  42. Joan

    This should work.

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