Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Maine is beginning to show the best colors in New England. But it's funny. Maine people make trips to New Hampshire and Vermont. All the while residents of those states come here. I have seen dozens of Florida cars lately and there are still many license plates from Canada. Canada must have beautiful fall colors so I don't think they are here for the foliage. Rather that they are here for the last glorious days at the local beaches where still, some days are warm enough to enjoy sitting on the beach and even if you're hardy enough, to go for a dip in the chilly Atlantic. I think the lakes and ponds have cooled significantly, but a lake surrounded by Maine hardwoods and evergreens make lovely retreats for those not inclined to swim. And the fishing is still good for those who like to dip a hook and line.

I drive to Yarmouth frequently - about seventeen miles from my home - and I watch the changes almost daily. Very interesting. Even the rocks take on a different tone. As the moisture increases as it has recently the rocks darken and the striation is markedly distinct. I happen to love rocks. I pick them up here and there and bring them to my limited garden space. Once when my husband and I were visiting Canada in the St. John area I noted that the rocks were a very red hue. I said I was going to stop and pick some up. My husband was aghast. "You'll get arrested!" he admonished me. "If everybody took a rock there wouldn't be any left!" I learned afterward that some states do penalize people from removing rocks which are considered part of their natural habitat. (Do rocks have habitats or does that word only apply to living things?)
I have a nice piece of petrified wood which I actually bought in a rock shop. I don't put that outside in the garden. I paid $5 for it and the man who sold it told me it was a bargain. In Maine we are not supposed to remove rocks from the shore. When I was a child the neighbors at Goose Rocks Beach had an outside fireplace built and every rock came from the shore. They also had a beautiful indoor fireplace built of field stone. That fireplace had a tooth of mine bedded in the mortar. Mr. Sullivan was the stone mason and he told me it would be there forever. Alas, the whole area burned in the forest fires of 1947, and fireplace, which was all that was left, was knocked down in order to build a new cottage.

Back to colors. The sumac right now are not exactly red, but not brown. They are an amazing deep mix that might be nearest to maroon. And then the leaves are turning yellow and I wonder why I have never seen a wall paper or cloth with that startling combination. I still have a very blue morning glory climbing up the fence. It is so entangled in the branches of a bush I tried to trim I had to leave the chore for later in the season. The roses are truly faded. The red is now pink and the yellow is nearly white. The healthy grass is very green, but the "stuff" in the front has been cut too short all year, and is full of some alien growth which is rusty brown. Each fall it looks like this, and each spring it seems to come back to life. The evergreens are a very dark as they harden up for the cold weather to come.

And so the palette changes from day to day. And if you don't stop to look around, to see the marsh grass become golden and tough, to see the brown cat tails burst and become fuzzy-headed wands, to see the milk weed dry and open and scatter their feathery seeds over the fields, you are missing the greatest show on earth.

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