The black and scarlet oaks with their lobed and pointed leaves may be on the way to becoming live oaks, the ones in the South and California that never lose their leaves in the fall and are, thus, evergreens. It will take thousands of years for such a conversion, but global warming may shorten that time span a bit. We’ll see.
Most of the eastern United States is made up of counties, townships, cities, villages, hamlets, and neighborhood areas that have names but have no local government. The western states, which came latest, have counties and cities, but also neighborhoods that have distinct names as in the East. Some of the Midwest states, which joined the union in the middle of its growth, have towns and villages, as well as cities and counties.
The rain and wind of last Wednesday didn’t spoil the fall foliage after all. As of Monday, the oaks in my yard still had three-quarters of their leaves and were more than 50-percent green. Is it a sign of global warming that leaves take longer and longer each year to turn or is it just some enigma that won’t easily be explained and predictable for some time?
On Sunday during a Long Pond Greenbelt walk along the old Long Island Rail Road spur between Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor I had to keep from tripping after rolling on acorns that littered the trail. I dared not to look at the turning leaves in the oaks, sassafras, and hickories above for fear of stumbling on an acorn.
Ah, fall, the sound of acorns dropping on the roof on a breezy night can wake you up, but it’s much more comforting than the sound of the rain of frass from a thousand gypsy moth larvae defecating at the same time. The acorn that falls on your roof and rolls off does not fall far from your house.
As Roseanne Roseannadanna of “Saturday Night Live” might say if she were with us today, “What’s all this fuss about blue-green algae? Algae are good, aren’t they?” Yes, blue-green algae have become common in the news lately. But I doubt that one in 10,000 people have ever seen one or has any idea about what one is. In actuality, the blue-green alga is not an alga at all (true algae have nuclei), but a bacterium, in fact, a cyanobacterium, one of the first to exist on earth.
We’ve just suffered through another northeaster, but fortunately missed Hurricane Joaquin, which went out to sea after bombarding the Bahamas and Bermuda. After a long lull between 1962 and 1983, we’ve had a plethora of costly coastal storms beginning with the March northeaster of 1984 and culminating with Sandy at the end of October 2012.
The fall is here, my favorite time of the year. The Hamptons are still the Hamptons, but the traffic is diminished, things slow down, the sky is beautiful, and the leaves turn myriad colors before they fall to the ground in November. It’s the time of the great bird migration and the harvesting of fish and shellfish, just like in the old days.
It’s fall and the dogwoods, horse chestnuts, and sycamores have already turned, not so colorfully, mind you. The vast majority of trees around are still green, as are the mountain laurels, blueberries, and huckleberries under them.
We all know about the Venus flytrap. It’s a carnivorous plant that lives sparingly in the coastal Carolinas and catches insects in its trap. How many of us, however, know that right here on the East End we have more than a handful of such plants, which eke out a living by catching and eating insects.