Harriman Point / by Greg Westrich

Harriman Point juts out into Blue Hill Bay in Brooklin. Most of the small peninsula is a Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserve. A new trail winds from the parking lot on Harriman Point Road through tall evergreens to Tinker's Lane. After walking through a gate, the hike follows the lane along Allen Cove. On the sunny day I was there, wintering mergansers floated in the shallow water.


At the end of the lane, trails lead left and right to rocky beaches on each side of the point. To the west, the trail ends where a series of tiny islands float in the clear water. Across Blue Hill Bay are the town and mountain the bay's named for. This is a great swimming spot—when it's warmer—especially when the tide is in.


The trail to the east leads to an arc of gravelly beach with a swampy pond behind it. Across the water, you have a fine view of Mount Desert Island. This too is a good swimming spot.


Where the lane ends, there's a semi-open area with several aged apple trees. On the day I was there, a small porcupine was in the brown grass near one of the trees. I thought it was dead. Flies buzzed around the small prickly ball, alighting on it spiny fur. I was about to poke it with my toe when I noticed it was breathing. I squatted down and looked more closely. It stirred but didn't wake. It probably passed out after gorging on fallen apples.


Some fall days are like a crisp apple hanging on a drooping branch. Others are more like that same apple lying in the brown grass two weeks later. Those ground apple days hint of the winter to come. The leaves abandon their perch and collect in crunching drifts. Rusty needles blanket the forest floor. Mushrooms burst from fallen logs and moist soil, spreading their spores before the season chills.


Spring is a noisy season of rushing transition. Fall moves much more quietly. Stone and broken shells grumbling beneath the pushing tide. Chickadees and nuthatches quietly calling as they feed. Shriveled oak leaves clattering against one another. Nothing shrill. No loud celebrations of new life. Just resignation that the wheel has turned again and life goes on.