Autumn Awareness

December 14, 2018


The day was clear and cold and I shuffled along like a little girl kicking the fallen dry leaves on the ground and counting squirrel nests. You can see them so clearly this time of year

In many ways winter allows us to be even more aware of the natural world around us. The scents in the air seem so clean and crisp and I love to inhale deeply and say a meditation of thanks for being given this day and not despair of the darkness that sometimes shadows over me, obscuring the path. I am learning not to panic and just run off thinking I can outrun the shadows. Often now I will just sit quietly and let them pass overhead, as I know the shadows and fear are what allow us to experience the light and the joy and like it or not they all have their place is the cosmos.

I spotted a row of some type of shrubbery showing all the stages of its transition from summer to winter. Some leaves still green and some have already fallen and some defy words in explaining the hues and textures they have. The leaves had thorns on the edges and soft white hairs. A friend recently told me that even though we think of the leaves as “changing colors in the fall” that isn’t exactly what happens. The colors were there all along. I had to check this out and sure enough the explanation I read confirmed this, though it is really just part of the story.

During winter, there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis. The trees will rest, and live off the food they stored during the summer. They begin to shut down their food-making factories. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can’t see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll. The bright reds and purples we see in leaves are made mostly in the fall. In some trees, like maples, glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Sunlight and the cool nights of autumn cause the leaves turn this glucose into a red color. The brown color of trees like oaks is made from wastes left in the leaves.

It is the combination of all these things that make the beautiful fall foliage colors we enjoy each year.

I really like this explanation because it shows us that there is so much around us that is often hidden or waiting to reveal itself in the proper time. It shows me patience and humility and somehow the unimportance of time.

Everything around us is extraordinary in its own way. We just need to open ourselves to the AWARENESS.

Hope you like the photograph.


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