Jeff Green | Oct 27, 2005
NatureReflections October 27, 2005
Home | Local Weather | Editorial Policy
Nature ReflectionsOctober 27, 2005
. | Navigate | .
ArchiveImage GalleryAlgonquin Land Claims
Gray MerriamLegaleseGeneral information and opinion on legal topics by Rural Legal ServicesNature Reflectionsby Jean GriffinNight Skiesby Leo Enright
Autumn and time to watch for the changing colours in the leaves. The various shades of green are gradually, or sometimes almost overnight, being replaced with an even greater variety of yellows, oranges, reds or browns. The leaves are dying as they change colour because they are losing the vital life-support of sap, as the cool days force the movement of sap downward instead of upward.
So the leaves on individual trees start to fall, first just one or two, then gradually in greater numbers, until the limbs are bare, though not all trees shed at the same time. But soon there is a scattering of leaves on the ground.
Driving down the road on a windy day you can see the autumn leaves in a different context. A sudden gust of wind sends them dancing on the road ahead. An even stronger gust will lift them into the air - they almost seem to be reaching back to the limbs from which they came as they soar higher and higher, but then the wind bates and almost reluctantly they float back down to earth. Sometimes they seem to be racing ahead of the car, then another gust and this time they swirl and eddy around the car as if inspecting this intruder.
Meantime those still clinging to the branches of the trees seem to be in battle as the wind whips them to and fro - they seem to be eager to let go, but equally eager to stay, or is it the tree itself that is unwilling to release them. As the wind blusters and lashes them more and more, trees are forced to relinquish their hold and their leaves join those that have already escaped. And the trees are left to face the coming winter without their mantles of greenery.
Is this the end of the leaves? - no, it is just another chapter in nature. Those that fall on a pond will at first float, though driven by the wind to one end of the surface of the water, but soon they will become waterlogged, and one by one, they sink to the bottom, where they will gradually decay. Those on the ground will form a blanket under the trees from which came, and this blanket will offer protection to the roots of plants and grasses as well as seeds over the winter. But they too will start to decompose as bacteria and other small animals attack them, and now, no longer living organisms, they are absorbed into the earth and become nutrients for other life - a source of food for the seeds that sprout in spring, and perhaps for the very trees from which they came.
That is the promise of nature - of spring - renewed life! From death comes life as nature recycles and allows nothing to go to waste.