Fading Footsteps and Falling Leaves

The autumn leaves, drift by my window

Those autumn leaves, of red and gold

A lot of water evaporates from hardwood tree leaves.  During the summer, roots absorb water from the soil, which is transported to the leaves, where it combines with carbon dioxide to form sugars and other organic compounds (photosynthesis).  In winter, water can not be absorbed by roots, and flow up the trunk, when it’s frozen so, in order to prevent dehydration from water loss through leaves, the trees shed them for the winter, and grow new ones when the weather gets warmer.

Leaves have several pigments in them but, in the summer, the dominant one is the green chlorophyll, which is needed for the photosynthesis process that goes on in them.  When leaves start dying, in the fall, chlorophyll is the first pigment to decompose,  For a short time, the red anthocyanins and yellow carotines are present and, with the chlorophyll gone, these pigments can be seen, till they decompose and the leaf dies and breaks off.  Sumacs are rich in anthocyanins, and turn a deep red.  Sugar maples have both pigments and show a brilliant orange.  Besides giving us syrup in the spring, they bring lots of tourists to enjoy the “Turkish carpet” on the hills by the Finger Lakes.

Animals, too, need to prepare for the cold season.  If they aren’t endothermic, and make their own body heat, like birds and mammals, the rest of the animals, being ectothermic, need to spend the winter in some state of dormancy.  No protection from ticks or mosquitoes is needed in the weeks ahead.

So, join us on the Sunday afternoons ahead, and enjoy being a part of this annual transitional season.

But I miss you most of all, my darling

When autumn leaves start to fall 

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