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Date:12/18/2014 3:07:25 PM
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Autumn Colors
We've been lucky. This Autumn we've had a stretch of clear weather just when the leaves have started turning. In other years, a hard rain occurred when the leaves were turning and knocked most of them off the trees. This last week has allowed us to really enjoy the fall colors. Last Saturday eve I sat on my bicyicle under the powerlines to watch the sunset. At this time of year the sun sets almost perfectly aligned with the due east-west line of the powerlines. I could look east and see three miles of maples, poplars, and oaks high-lighted by the setting sun. The undergrowth of maples and sumac under the Norway pines of the Machikanee Forest shine like fire in the evening as I drive along Hwy 141 on my home to Stiles.

Even in our own woods in the front yard, we can see bright red, flaming yellow and rich burgundy from the leaves of these same maples, birches, and young oaks, all under the protecting shelter of the mature Norway pines. Added to this are the colors of the hardwoods across the road belonging to our trustworthy neighbors, the Rupipers. At this time of year, even on cloudy days, the colors of the leaves brighten the land.

Now what causes the leaves to turn colors like this? I will quote directly from the Wikipedia article:"In late summer, as daylight hours shorten and temperatures cool, the veins that carry fluids into and out of the leaf are gradually closed off as a layer of special cork (tissue) cells forms at the base of each leaf. As this cork layer develops, water and mineral intake into the leaf is reduced, slowly at first, and then more rapidly. It is during this time that the chlorophyll begins to decrease." (Wikipedia)

What this amounts to is that as nutrition to the leaves diminishes, the chemical make-up of the leaves changes. Whereas chorophyll causes the leaves to reflect green light of the spectrum, the change in the chemical make-up allows the starving leaves to reflect yellow, red, and brown lights. Knowing all this science doesn't make the colors all the more remarkable, but it explains why it happens. Hal Borland speculated that if the Autumn colors were an event that happened only every ten years or so, it would be a monumental, life-defining event. As it is, the fall colors are a yearly occurence and as such, can be easily overlooked by the dull-at-heart. For me, and for all countrymen and countrywomen, the Autumn colors are as important as any annual holiday. It is a re-affirmation of God's hand in the "nature" of things. I submit that it is an elegant example of "Intelligent Design" that only the most dismal of souls would deny.

I delight in the Autumn colors as much as I do in the "holy days" of Christmas and Easter. It is for me an undeniable proof of the benefiscence of a loving Creator and each fall I pray and thank our Father for his kindness.
-- Gary
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