Green is a category, not a color / by Greg Westrich

I was standing on the dock at Sunrise Pond on Borestone Mountain yesterday. It's my office for the summer. The morning air was cool, but the sun was strong. Black flies and mosquitoes swarmed around my head.

Across the pond, on the shoulder of the mountain, the hardwoods mixed in with the spruce and pine were glowing in the morning light. Leaves are like butterflies: early in the season their colors are vibrant and fresh, but as the season heats up and wears on they fade and lose their luster. In May and June, every kind of hardwood leaf has its own particular shade of green. The beech are almost yellow and seem to glow. The maples start how with a reddish hue. It's like the fall in reverse. The fact of the matter is that English simply doesn't have enough words to capture all the greens.

It was a slow day on the mountain, so I spent some time looking for greens. Okay, so I got distracted by the beaver swimming across the pond. And the frog croaking from the mossy shore near the dock.

Even the frog is several different greens. The visitors' center sits among a series of shale ledges. In the low spots between ledges, moss thrives. Other plants such as irises and painted trilliums grow up through the moss. Sometimes I think green was invented for moss.

I realized that even the water was green.

So before the heat of summer squeezes all the color out of Maine head into the woods and see how many greens you can find.