Seeing red and feeling pink

Most of the maple and fruit trees have lost their leaves, foliage season has peaked, and the leaf peepers are long gone. Just the last leaves linger on. There are a few stretches of lemon yellow aspen glowing from Bar Island in Frenchman Bay, and the persistent golden brown of oaks will be with us for months. Brighter than these, though, are the late autumn reds.

Now that the showy maples are bare they stand out vivid and scarlet, cheekily announcing the approach of winter and white.

Flame-leaved Virginia creeper, the hot pink of burning bush, and tiny bloodlike spots of red barberries are here, replacing the lush greens of summer. Crabapples, nipped by frost and no longer hidden by leaves, gleam like rubies. Rose hips large and small are bright crimson. Red is the new green.

Fall tells us summer is over, but it isn’t until I see these reds that I start remembering a landscape of snow. This fills my spirit with a deep calm.

When even the last, lingering, red leaves are gone, the red berries remain. Their season is weeks and even months. No longer do things bloom and fade in days.

Red leaves, red berries—when I see red I know the light-speed of summer is behind me, and I feel the warm, pink wash of relief.

Karen O. Zimmermann

About Karen O. Zimmermann

Karen O. Zimmermann savors chance encounters with people throughout the state of Maine, and is endlessly delighted with the tales they have to share.