We pause from news of politics, celebrity gossip and sports headlines to bring you an important message: While many of us were involved with the more sensational topics of the news cycle, the autumn leaves have turned once again.
We were reminded of all this a few days ago when an email arrived from the International Society of Arboriculture offering journalists a primer in the science behind fall foliage.
The autumn slowing of photosynthesis, the process by which plants store energy from sunlight, means less chlorophyll in tree leaves, which allows the yellow or orange pigments already present in the leaves to become visible. Many other variables, including ambient temperature and the moisture content in the soil, help shape the distinct palette of colors that we enjoy when we look at an autumn landscape.
We won’t pretend that we understand all of the botanical principles that govern the panorama of an autumn tree line. But we do know that the many variables shaping autumn foliage mean that the fall landscapes we see each year can never be fully duplicated. These autumn vistas are, in their own way, as distinctive as a snowflake.
That’s all the more reason to enjoy these views while we can — before winter bares the tree line until spring.
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