Funny thing about leaves. They’ve been there since spring, unobtrusively doing their photosynthesis thing, and we hardly notice them, and then come fall – whoa! – just as they decide they’ve had enough of the hard work of gobbling up carbon dioxide, we’re gushing over them and photographing them and bus loads of tourists are clogging the roads in order to ogle them, as if we’ve never seen a leaf before.
All because of a bit of colour.
What is it with red and yellow and gold? Can’t we pay green the same compliment of wonderment? It’s like having two siblings, one the glittering star, the other unpretentious and self-effacing and unassuming, and pouring all our attention on the former.
Anyway, down to Acadia National Park in Maine, not so much to see the leaves – really! – as simply to enjoy its colours, all of them, and its lakes and mountains and trails and craggy coast and carriage roads and little towns, difficult exactly to pinpoint its allure, maybe part self-indulgent nostalgia, the way it recalls the English Lake District, similar with its lakes and colours and gentle, mostly benign mountains, where I hiked and climbed in solitude years ago, taking advantage of working as a journalist and compiling days off in lieu of pay for covering weekend stories and going north to almost deserted Cumberland in the off season, an off season that I suspect no longer exists.
There’s a kind of irony in Acadia’s transmogrification from its popularity in the 1920s as a quasi-wilderness getaway for the rich playing at Going Back to Nature and Roughing It In the Bush to its status now as one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. with around two million visitors a year.
And having decried the obsession with fall leaf colour at the expense of poor, overlooked, summer green, I’m of course including here a few pictures of Acadia National Park …. and its lovely fall colours.
So who says you have to be consistent?