Jerry

We are fortunate to be living here in God’s country.

Here we can experience distinct seasons. The crisp, glittering cold of winter. The airy pastels of the fresh green spring. The fullness and deep green of summer.

For many of us, however, autumn is the season we most appreciate. Cool, comfortable evenings and a more gentle, soft glow from the sun. Autumn is the canvas for nature’s most brilliant brush strokes. The yellows and golds of the buckeyes and cottonwoods. The silver, purple and red of the sweetgum.

Countless shades of red running from barely orange sassafras leaves through the brownish rust of the oaks and sycamore to the brilliant scarlet of the sugar maples and dogwoods. Many other plants get in on the act. Some grasses turn beautiful shades of yellow and gold. Even poison ivy looks good with red and orange leaves so vibrant they sometimes look metallic.

What causes this marvelous transformation? How are the colors of different trees decided upon?

Scientists, botanist and biologists have many answers and logical reasons why all the colorization takes place. They talk of loss of chlorophyll — the green substance in plants. There’s mention of the yellow agents, carotene and xanthophyll.

Then they bring up the cooler nighttimes and bright sunshine of autumn which causes chemical changes. There’s usually mention of the red pigments, the anthocyanins, formed when the natural sugar, glucose, is trapped in a dying leaf.

Of course no scientific discussion of the leaves of autumn would be complete without mention of abscission. This is what gives the term “Fall” meaning. Abscission is the process which causes trees to lose their leaves. Or so say those scientists.

I have a completely different version. In my version the coloring and eventual dropping of the leaves is an orchestrated performance. Much like the fireworks finale at the July 4th celebrations. It’s the Creator’s way, and so obviously the only way, of topping the performance He put on for the season immediately preceding — summer!

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