The gourds are stacked in front of our house to celebrate the autumn season. I’m going to go to a sports bar today with UJ to watch the Browns play the Steelers, and I’m hoping that these bright orange colors might actually presage a Browns victory — for once!
Yikes. It was raw, wet and blustery this morning — so cold that I had to wear a coat over my Vassar hoodie, so cold that even the usually talkative jogging pairs were quiet and a bit shriveled in the wind, so cold that the sky looked bleak and angry and a little crack of blue framed with morning sun stood out sharply before being swallowed by the roiling clouds.
Welcome to October!
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.
Last Sunday Kish and I went out to the Lynd Fruit Farm Market in Pataskala to buy some farm-fresh produce, sausage, and cheeses. When we arrived, we were greeted by two sure signs that fall is upon us here in the Midwest: a flatbed of colorful mums, and a flatbed of beautiful pumpkins.
September is one of my favorite months of the year, in part because it’s such a colorful month, with the leaves turning, mum blossoms displaying their bright hues, and orange pumpkins appearing on doorsteps. As if on cue, the weather has taken a distinctly fall-like turn, too. Today our high was in the 60s, and the low tonight is supposed to get down near 50. Sweater weather!
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.