It’s autumn. That means it’s time for you to once again reflect upon the many valuable things you learned during high school science class, in that smelly room with the stone-stopped tables and the Bunsen burner devices and the sinks with the odd curved faucets. In addition to dissecting frogs and enduring that first whiff of formaldehyde, a smell that you will dread for the rest of your life, you learned about photosynthesis, and why leaves change color during the autumn.
Photosynthesis is the process by which our arboreal friends take water and carbon dioxide and convert them into oxygen and glucose. The leaves have chlorophyll, a substance that is the crucial agent in the photosynthesis process and uses the power of sunshine to complete the chemical change that is essential to life on our planet. You learned that chlorophyll is a deep, rich green, and during the height of spring and summer, when the chlorophyll is hard at work, its presence masks the other colors found in the leaves.
But when autumn comes, and winter approaches, and the supply of water and sunshine will decline, the chlorophyll decides that it’s time to take a vacation. It leaves the leaves, and when it does the other hidden colors emerge — like the bright reds that you see in sugar maple leaves. And sometimes you can see this process in action. It’s the sort of thing your high school science teacher would enjoy.
Yikes! The leaves on the trees on my street are already turning, and it’s not even October yet! I’m not ready.
Please, weather gods — let us have a few weeks more of Indian summer! I know it is a politically incorrect term, but it’s been unseasonably cool for months, and we could use some bright, clear days with temperatures in the 80s before the trees show their true colors, the autumn winds blow, and we feel the first breath of winter on our necks.
There’s still some color on the trees of New Albany — as shown by this flaming red tree along Route 62, next to the entrance to Alban Mews.
It’s been a beautiful fall color season in New Albany this year. The maple tree in our backyard looked particularly radiant, with its blazing orange leaves. Unfortunately, the inevitable autumn storms have come, and the wind and rain have knocked many of the leaves off the trees — as the carpet of color at the base of our maple tree indicates. We’ll have a more days of the beautiful colors, then it will be time for the grim Skeletal Tree Season.
The leaves have started to fall from the trees fronting the Webner household. Like little pellets of gold, they add a dash of color to the sidewalk and the front walk. It’s fun to rustle the leaves as you walk to retrieve the mail.
I’m sorry that summer has ended, but I must confess that I love autumn. As the leaves change color and drop to the ground, I acknowledge that fall is aptly named.
It’s been a very cool end of summer in New Albany, and now that autumn has officially arrived the leaves are starting to turn a bit earlier than normal. It’s sad to see summer leave with a chilly morning whimper, but the first hints of rusty fall colors make me feel a bit better about the change of seasons.
Most of the trees in our yard, and elsewhere in our neighborhood, have lost all of their leaves and stand denuded against the autumn air. There is one tree, however, that has somehow kept its leaves. Their amber hues were brilliant and beautiful as we walked by early this morning.