Red maple.

This past week has been glorious here on the island for fall color. The red maples have been at their peak, and while today’s rain will probably push them over the edge, my walks on the last few days have been filled with their reds and oranges, blazing against the late-turning oaks and the evergreens.

Red maple.

The red maples and the staghorn sumac are primarily responsible for the most brilliant autumn color here, while the birches and other maples have been glowing yellow. Peaks, of all the settled Casco Bay islands, has some of the best variety in terms of landscape: field, salt marsh, bog, residential neighborhood, pond, and many kinds of forests, from evergreen to birch and beech wood to hardwood stands of maple. There are places where you can walk in silent hemlock woods, and places where you can be in town. There are the haunting landscapes of the World War II military reservation, with its bunkers and towers alone and abandoned and overgrown, and the bright rocky coast.

WWII lookout tower.

There are the remains of farms and orchards, and the rotting piers of old steamboat landings. There are many kinds of birds, there are deer, there are even beaver, but not a squirrel or a chipmunk in sight. Acorns fall from the oak tree in our yard, and accumulate over the years, ungathered by autumnal hoarders.

Red maple near the bog.

The red maples are passing, but subtler colors will remain in the treetops, providing a harvest palette for more days to come, brightening these grey mornings with October shades, and tinging my daily walks.

Fall color in the marsh.

Fall in the marshlands reminds me of Wisconsin, and the shades of the prairie as autumn deepens. I can imagine walking in the arboretum, or out at Governor Dodge, at just this time of year. I miss it, and am glad to have tastes of it here in New England.


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