I left my phone in the car to get away from technology and get some space but that ended up backfiring. I was so overwhelmed by what I saw, smelled and felt that we ended up walking ALL the trails twice as I had to go back to the car to get said piece of technology to document the experience.
No need to adjust your screens, this transmission is meant to be in and black-and-white. Sometimes the true beauty of fall in Maine cannot be captured on "film." In random order of trails and sights, here are some of the things I couldn't wait to share:
There was a great expanse of white pines with no understory whatsoever due to the acidic environment, just an acid-tolerant moss, lichen or Wintergreen patch here and there. All around me there was brown. Dead leaves and dead needles, brown trunks of pine trees but above, all bright and green growth and pure blue sky beyond. Skinny tree roots were splayed upon the ground and covered the trails at points. Some were rising up out of the earth like breaching dolphins.
One giant crack in a very dead, very old pine tree opened into the empty tree core. I would've missed it, had I not been looking up at that one second instead of looking down at my feet, not wanting to fall my face. Tall women with large feet may have a beauty all their own but we are not considered graceful. As I stopped, open-mouthed in wonder next to the hollow tree, I heard a tapping sound behind me. A woodpecker was working 30 feet up a tree and small chips of wood were flying everywhere. As I stood there, still as a statue, a red squirrel ran over with an acorn in its mouth. It's amazing what you'll see in here if you just stop and listen.
At multiple points along the trails, red squirrels climbed a tree upon spotting us. I watched them for a minute or two as they chattered and chided, shook their tail and stared down. Once, it seemed he laughed at us as we walked away. Chipmunks were also out in full force, with full cheek pouches, and running to and fro to get ready for the long winter ahead. The ran among Partridge Berry blankets which covered the forest floor near the trail, lighting up the foliage with bright red berries among their deep green leaves.
There was a stump along the way, left over from a tree that was set to fall over onto the trail. "I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees," I shout as I jump up on it. No answer. The trails were all mine today. As this event passed, brown oak leaves floated down from the sky as soft and quiet as giant snowflakes falling and hit the ground with the shushed sound. Nuthatches, Titmice and chickadees flitting about all around, visiting different trees and talking to their friends.
There were tip-up roots (trees which have fallen over for one reason or another) everywhere. Single-digit aged trees and centuries old trees decided one day to just to lie down and take a rest. Their roots sprawling skyward. Some of them leaned together like drunks at a bar, too tired to stand up straight. Some tip-ups are fresh and new, with copious amounts of dirt still clinging to their roots. One such tree looked as if a girl was lifting up her skirt to step over a very large puddle.
An old unforgotten rock wall adorned the trail at one point. You had to walk though it to continue on. Where you cross over, it is not green from the thousands of feet who have traveled her before me. Every inch of every other rock is covered in a thin layer of moss. As I stop to notate that point, chickadees and titmice filled the silence.
The forest floor seemed to trade off real estate, with some areas completely covered in oak leaves and others in aspen or birch leaves but it seemed coniferous needles were everywhere. Meanwhile, the sky was clear and ablaze. At 12:30pm, the sun had already set a good deal. The rays bouncing off the water was more blinding than a city lit by fireflies (thank you obscure U2 lyric). The tide was moving in as I walked, making the melodic lapping sounds that you often hear on those sound machines one uses to soothe yourself to sleep in the unlikely event your upstairs neighbors are having a raging party.
All my senses except taste were heightened today, just from being outside in this perfect weather. The smell among the falling leaves was especially intoxicating. If I could bottle it up and turn it into a pheromone, Paul Bunyan would be mine. I'll leave you with that thought and this poem I crafted as I explored this amazing local park.
A dead tree is a sad thing to see
but there are more things living in her now
than there will ever be