Leaves of Green and Other Brilliant Colors
Accepting things as they are has never really been a problem for me. I don’t have to have extravagant explanations or need things to make sense to know that they are truth. For example, I know God is God and that he always was, is, and will be. I know that if I want to fly somewhere I can get on a plane and it will fly regardless of its tonnage. I don’t really question how or why, I just accept it. The same is true with leaves. Someone recently posed the question to me, “Why do leaves change color?” Hmmm… made me think. I’d never thought about it before. I just accepted that when the time was right they would change and I would enjoy their beautiful hues and love the masterpieces God paints with his trees. However, since the question was asked, I feel the need to find out so I went searching.
I found a great explanation in this article Why Leaves Change Color. It gets a lot more technical than my non-scientific mind can retell. Definitely go read it if your one of those people who need to know all the science. But basically the article tells us that leaves begin changing colors when the nights get longer! There is less sunlight for photosynthesis and less chlorophyll is produced until eventually there is no chlorophyll at all. This allows other pigments to show themselves. So the bold greens eventually fade into brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows. Now, it’s time to enjoy the newly painted vistas.
Autumn is really my most favorite season. The smells, the crisp air, and certainly the vibrant colors. Until studying leaf colors I never really thought about what this season means for our trees. Why is it necessary? I’m learning that, essentially, changing leave color is the beginning of preparations for our trees to hibernate. It’s how they protect themselves. Leaves have thin fluids and wouldn’t be able to handle the freeze that will come with winter. So the tree goes through the process of slowing down, closing up cells to protecting themselves from the cold winter. I bet you never really thought about how smart a tree is! I know I sure haven’t. I’m in awe of this creation and how it knows how to take care of itself. For me, I’m reminded that God cares about all the little things and he didn’t skimp on the details during creation. He really did think of everything!
I know here in the Southeast we don’t have as much cold weather. The warmer weather creates less vibrant colors. So we enjoy as much as we can here and then travel north to soak in the beauty of a skyline full of autumn colors. It so reminds me of how much God must love us to give us such beauty. He cares about all the little things and yet we so often take His gifts, such as beautiful fall colors, for granted.
I’m glad someone asked this question. I never really need to know why, but sometimes knowing why increases our faith and reminds us that everything has a purpose, even when all the leaves are gone and the stark gray permeates our world, we know that it’s only the majestic trees protecting themselves and silently preparing for a grand reentrance. It’s definitely a lesson for us. We need to allow the seasons of life to happen. The ups and downs really do have purpose. They aren’t all beautiful and glorious, but they are all necessary. Embrace them and know that with each passing season life continues and grows more and more beautiful.
Happy Fall Y’all!