Leaf Me Alone! Tenacious Tree Turns Trunk on Peer Pressure

Here’s another one from the “Only in Maine” category…

One of the most beautiful things about autumn in New England is the fall foliage.  One could drive anywhere in the region and enjoy breathtaking views of autumnal colors as the trees (remember what those are, city folks?) take center stage and perform a mesmerizing show appropriate for all generations.  Everywhere you look, there is an exciting burst of color as the leaves undergo a transformation you can find nowhere else in nature.   It is also a last call of sorts as once the weather gets too chilly and the wind a little too strong, the leaves do once last dance and flutter from their branches to the their final resting place (well, aside from inside leaf bags) on the cold Maine earth.

It is this Modern Philosopher’s opinion (and the most important one on this blog, since I’m the one tapping out the letters), Maine’s fall foliage is the best in all of New England, and most likely, the entire country (I’m sure I’ll get comments about that!  Bring them on…I welcome the debate!).  For this native New Yorker, nothing beats autumn in my new home state.

Then again, this is Maine, so things get a little complicated.  You see, up here, trees are living beings that can make decisions, talk, and even dance (you’ve got to get a ton of hard cider into them to see them cut a rug, but it is the experience of a lifetime).  The trees are quite aware that they are celebrities, and they spend the other seasons plotting out their fall look.  Maine trees live to put on a show!  Considering the hard winters they need to survive every year just to make it to the following autumn, these trees deserve their moment in the sun.

In Brewer, Maine, however, there is one tree that is making a name for itself for an entirely different reason.  This mighty Maple, located in a small park down near the Penobscot River,  refuses to change its leaves!

That’s right, Modern Philosophers, in the sea of Crayola Colors that dot this state’s awe-inspiring landscape, there is a single green holdout!

Tourists are still flocking to the mighty tree, but this time it’s for another reason: controversy!  (Man, once I get started with the exclamation points, I really cannot stop myself!!)  When asked why it won’t change, the tree told this blog: “I’m tired of being a follower.  I’m not some clown that puts on a big red nose and performs for you just because you tell me to.  I’m a living, breathing, extremely vital part of this environment and I demand the right to choose!”

Remarkably, sides are about evenly split on this one.  For every Fall Purist who wants a color show, there is a Choose Greener who believes a tree has the right not to change.  Debates go on all day around the tree (naturally attracting this craver of Deep Thoughts), but things never get too rowdy.  After all, this is Maine, things are pretty mellow, and if you make too much noise, it will draw the Zombies out of the woods.

Local god, Stephen King, recently came down to visit the Maple and offer his support.  While he would not go on the record with me, he did assure me that in one of the twenty books his writes this winter, the hero will be a Maple tree.

Another person who is a huge supporter of the tree is Harry.  It’s his job to rake up all the leaves in this particular park, so he’s got no problem with the tree’s stance.  “If those leaves don’t turn, they’re not going to fall, and I won’t have to rake ’em.  Plus, having all these people here constantly keeps the grass from growing.  I haven’t had to break out the lawnmower in weeks!” Way to be, Harry.  Make all Mainers seem like easygoing layabouts…

Someone who is not too thrilled with the tree’s protest is Autumn. Recently angered by her family’s failed intervention, Autumn has been trying to reassert herself as the most powerful of the seasons.  Being shown up by a tree is not going to help that.  She told me that Mainers were going to feel her wrath for this one (like it’s our fault that tree won’t budge!!!), which I took to mean it would be a good idea to keep my snow shovel handy.  My calls to Mother Nature have not yet been returned, but hopefully, she will be able to prevent her daughter from pounding Maine with blizzards until Winter arrives.

One opinion that’s getting a lot of play in this is that of the family of squirrels who live in the Maple.  Normally, they would be freezing their fuzzy tails off by now in the bare branches of their home, but this year, the little buggers are staying warm and toasty.  They know how lucky they are, and they are paying their luck forward.  Said Sven, the patriarch of the squirrel family, “We’ve taken in neighborhood squirrels who were living on the street without heat or a nut to their name.  Now we’re just one big, happy, warm, well-fed family…and it’s all because this tree refuses to sway!” (Looks like Brewer residents might be hearing the pitter patter of hundreds of baby squirrel feet come Spring!)

So what do you think, Modern Philosophers?  Does a tree have the right to choose?  Does Mother Nature have a right to tell a tree what to do with its branches?  How jealous are you that you don’t live in Maine where trees don’t give in to peer pressure, where squirrels can talk, and where mythical creatures lurk in the shadows just waiting to snatch and feed on a foliage fan when no one else is looking?

The next time you see a tree, maybe you should give it a hug.  As you can surmise, it’s not easy being green…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Leaf Me Alone! Tenacious Tree Turns Trunk on Peer Pressure

  1. monica923 says:

    Ha ha ha ha! The right to choose even affects the maple! She needs to stand tough against the naysayers. And now I am going out to hug a tree in my unwavering support!

  2. Katrina says:

    zombies coming out of the woods. very funny.

  3. brianhmoll says:

    Maybe a tree’s right to choose should be directly proportional to it’s output of delicious syrup. As long as the syrups as good as in over in Vermont, it should stay green for as long as it wants. Maybe that will be King’s next chiller. A tree stays green, refuses to spit out syrup, and an entire town is seized with the unspeakable supernatural terror.

    • But should only trees that produce copious amounts of syrup have the right to choose? It’s a slippery slope. Ponder on that…

      • brianhmoll says:

        Look. It’s not that complicated. If a maple tree is not producing copious amounts of syrup to please me and my family’s waffle habit, then what good is it to me; why do I care if it’s being whiny and idealistic, and “oh look at me I’m staying green in November I’m such a nonconformist”? Seriously, green leaves or not, if it’s not producing syrup then it’s not a job creating tree, which is useless in this economy and therefore useless in this country. It should be cut down and replanted with a tree that produces maximum sap.

  4. But this tree might provide a home to a family of squirrels, shade for kids playing in the park, and a place for a hobo to urinate in public. Your argument that trees must produce to earn the right to choose seems flawed my friend. Put on your toga and ponder it some more…

  5. lapoetaflor says:

    Your posts are always so witty and highly imaginative. You weave in such deep concepts at the same time. You’re awesome. Keep writing.

  6. Poor tree. You would think, Autumn, of all seasons, would understand. She’s not in a good place right now, but that’s no reason to take it out on the tree.

  7. Austin says:

    Reblogged this on The Return of the Modern Philosopher and commented:

    Since yesterday’s Jump Start post was about Fall Foliage and Trees, I dusted off this post from the second week of the blog’s existence…

  8. I love your Tree post. I have a few trees in my yard and there are many squirrels and plenty of birds and other creatures that I love to share them with. Only a few I do not enjoy. I live in an area where not so many trees lose their leafs in the fall, but if I was tree, I would like to keep them too. Good for that Maple. :>)

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