Go ahead and peep. I won’t tell.

Unknown ornamental, Newbury, Massachusetts (2)
A magnificent ornamental beauty along Route 1 in Newbury.

The North Shore, Massachusetts

The autumnal paintbrush has dabbed the trees here north of Boston. The red maples scream, me first, me first with their red and sometimes ghostly oranges – colors I cannot adequately describe nor capture on film. For those of you who can’t make it up this way for a little leaf peeping (it’s a thing), here’s a tour.

But first! Science.

Leaves change colors because the chlorophyll (the light-harvesting pigment that makes leaves green) is being broken down and its nutrients, particularly nitrogen are being packed into the tree to overwinter. The colors are other pigments that were there all along (in most cases), just overshadowed by chlorophyll. Now is there time to shine. Below is a great graphic that explains the most common pigments you see.

A great graphic from: http://www.compoundchem.com Check them out for other cool stuff!

Oh, and if you want to see pictures of maybe the biggest, oldest organism on the planet (hint: it’s a tree), see here.

And now pretty, pretty pictures. Go ahead and peep. I won’t tell.

At the corner of Route 1 and Glen Street, Rowley
At the corner of Route 1 and Glen Street, Rowley

Fall colors, Rowley, Massachusetts, Oct 2014 (2)

Red. Asphalt.
Red. Asphalt.
Cemetery colors, Oak Hill Cemetery
Cemetery colors, Oak Hill Cemetery
Cemetery colors, Oak Hill Cemetery
Cemetery colors, Oak Hill Cemetery
Even the lichens like to show their colors
Even the lichens like to show their colors
Picture taken in 2013 on Newman Road. The sugar maples, shown here, have not yet turned the road into a golden tunnel so you still have time to see some great color! You've got three weeks!
Picture taken in 2013 on Newman Road. The sugar maples, shown here, have not yet turned the road into a golden tunnel so you still have time to see some great color! You’ve got three weeks!
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