When The Chlorophyll Flees

IMG_3373It’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.

Too Soon

IMG_3318Yikes!  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.

Orange You Glad It’s Autumn?

IMG_5306It’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.

Fall Is Aptly Named

IMG_5026The 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.

Starting To Turn

IMG_4975It’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.

Branches Aflame

Our fall colors are really starting to emerge in central Ohio; we’ll continue to have blazing arboreal beauty until a big storm knocks the leaves to the ground.

The sugar maples on the streets of our neighborhood are particularly striking right now, with leaves like tufts of flame burning brightly on the tree limbs.

Autumn Comes To The Buckeye State

Autumn is a beautiful season in the Midwest and Northeast, as the leaves change and the last seasonal blooms appear.  The average bit of Ohio woodland may not be as richly colorful as, say, a Vermont forest, but it is still a treat for the senses.  It is a time of year when a normally brisk walk slows down, so the walker can try, at least, to fully appreciate the surprisingly rich tapestry of colors found in that patch of trees that has been passed thousands of times before.

The Leaves Begin To Turn

Kish and I took Penny on our early morning walk this Labor Day, 2010.  The weather has grown a bit cooler, and last night we slept with windows open and enjoyed the fresh air.  This morning the temperature was probably in the 50s as we strolled along beneath overcast skies.

As we walked, I noticed that the leaves on many of the trees are just starting to turn.  The bright green is beginning to leach from the leaves on the many trees lining Ogden Woods Boulevard.  The phenomenon gives the leaves a curious two-tone, skeletal appearance.  The tree at the northwest corner of our house, on the other hand, already is dotted with bright yellow leaves, and in some places you see leaves on the ground.

September is among the most beautiful months in central Ohio.  The weather tends to be warm, dry, and clear during the day, with cool evenings, and the turning leaves add bright flashes of red and yellow to accent the green surroundings.  Soon we will be heading into sweater weather.