Inspired by Farmer Tom of Wishetwurra Farm (up the road from me apiece in West Tisbury), I’ve been packing my little point-and-shoot whenever Travvy and I go out.
Fall in New England raises expectations high. We’re famous for our fall foliage. New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts are famous for roads congested with tourists come to gawk at the fall foliage.
Fall foliage on Martha’s Vineyard, however, often doesn’t live up to my expectations. Oaks are the most common deciduous trees here, and oaks aren’t the natural showoffs that, say, maples and birches are. (We do have maples and birches, but they’re vastly outnumbered by oaks.) Oak leaves seem to rush through the color stage, or bypass it altogether. One day they’re a worn-out green; the next day they’re brown and falling to the ground.
As Farmer Tom’s photos reminded me, however, you’ll see more color if you look downward or from side to side instead of just upward.
Fall really is an extravagantly colorful season on Martha’s Vineyard. Morning and late afternoon light can transform a ho-hum dull yellow leaf into glowing gold. Nestled in green, clusters of flowers flash white or yellow or blue along the trail.
Last year I fell in love with winged sumac. This omnipresent shrub, with its deep reds and burgundies and every shade in between, lives up to my very highest expectations of fall. This year I’ve been watching it grow from unobtrusive to bushy and, now, from glossy green to radiant red.
It’s the textures of fall as well as the colors that make me wish I could paint, or weave, or knot rugs big enough to hang in a castle banquet hall. I can’t, so I thank fall for doing it for me.