Monday, October 28, 2013

Autumn Tints

The photo is a month late, but I came across this paragraph in Thoreau's Autumn Tints, and couldn't resist.  Anyay, there are some red maples still lingering in color.

A small red  maple has grown, perchance, far away at the head of some retired valley, a mile from any road, unobserved.  It has faithfully discharged the duties of a maple there, all winter and summer, neglected none of its economies, but added to its stature in the virtue which belongs to a maple, by a steady growth for so many months, never having gone gadding abroad, and is nearer heaven than it was in the spring.  It has faithfully husbanded its sap, and afforded a shelter to the wandering bird, has long since ripened its seeds and committed them to the winds, and has the satisfaction of knowing, perhaps, that a thousand well-behaved maples are already settled in life somewhere.  It deserves well of Mapledom.  Its leaves have been asking it from time to time, in a whisper, "When shall we redden"?  And now in this month of September, this month of traveling, when men are hastening to the seaside, or the mountains, or the lakes, this modest maple, still without budging an inch, travels in its reputation,--runs up its scarlet flag on that hillside, which shows that it has finished its summer's work before all other trees, and withdraws from the contest.  At the eleventh hour of the year, the tree which no scrutiny could have detected here when it was most industrious is thus, by the tint of its maturity, by its very blushes, revealed at last to the careless and distant traveler, and leads his thoughts away from the dusty road and into those brave solitudes which it inhabits.  It flashes out conspicuous with all the virtue and beauty of a maple,--Acer rubrum.  We may now read its title, or rubric clear.  Its virtues, not its sins, are as scarlet.
                                                                                                                      -- Henry David Thoreau

Nemasket River, Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013
Walked with boys to top of Great Blue Hill this pm to see if I could see scarlet oaks in fall color.  Got to top of hill at 5:35, just before trees to east were in complete shadow.  Didn't see much beyond the green of white pine and tan-brown of most oaks.  Very little scarlet--I saw more on the drive up than from the hill.  There were still a few red maples with leaves of yellow and some splashes of scarlet on a few individual leaves.  Beech has barely begun to turn.  sugar maples are about done.  Scrub black oak (5-lobed) at the top is partly turned.

We walked over to the Observatory, looked at the very red setting sun, and then started down by the directest trail while the rocks underfoot became increasingly hard to see.  It was nearly full dark when we got down, around 6pm.


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