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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

A Gift from the Muskie Trail

Posted by
David Morse
| October 27, 2017 | Filed under: Observations

The colors of autumn roadsides beckon us to walk with heads and eyes directed upward. The trees are putting on their annual spectacle and we are fortunate to have this show playing in our own neighborhoods.

But all rules are off during a walk on the Muskie Trail. The footing is uneven where the criss-crossing of exposed roots creates foot-grabbing tentacles. This is not the place for tree gazing while walking. Stop and look up. You will be rewarded with your own close up view of the colors that travelers come to Maine to enjoy.

But move on, hikers, with your gaze directed downward. There is a reward waiting for you. The path is adorned with a carpet of intricate design and variegated color that rivals the best that man can create. It is nature’s gift to us before frosts and time render it a dull monochrome.

The leaves have done their work for the year. Now is their time to let go and drift gently to earth. Each leaf bears witness to the struggles of life in the upper story. You can see in the pink, red, and yellow leaves the scars they bear of their former lives, the black dots and rust spots of disease. Look for tiny pinholes and chewed edges from small insects that fed there. The munched holes and defects testify to what attracts summer birds to these trees.

Fret not about the need to be in downward-gazing vigilant mode. Beauty is there to appreciate. Just don’t wait too long, as beauty inevitably fades, leaving a dull reminder that all will soon be covered in white.

Happy walking!

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