Without hesitation, I say October is the most beautiful month of the year. I also say without hesitation that it ends too quickly. It rests on a temporary cusp of time between the Indian Summer days of September and the dry-cold days of November. The climate is temperate. The autumnal sun gives the shorter days a certain glow. The most brilliant part about October, however, is the change of colors.
I look forward to the leaves changing color every year. My eyes are always scanning the trees, looking for a single yellow leaf to commence the transformation. Lost in the sight of the leaves, I oftentimes forget about the tree itself. There is a technical purpose that trees change their shades. Throughout spring and summer, the trees have been photosynthesizing sunlight into energy with their green leaves.
However, as winter approaches, trees change their routine. “Winter dormancy is the time for trees to rest up and rely on stored energy, but first they must prepare defenses against the cold and freezing weather ahead.” As the photosynthesis cycle slowly turns off, the green chlorophyll in the leaves fades away and different pigments within the leaves emerge. After all their hard work, the trees paint our neighborhoods, campuses, and parks with golds, reds, and oranges. It is their way to say: it’s time to rest.
Yet, for a student, the sight of fall leaves reminds me of beginning work again. It means a return to school and the beginning of something completely unknown to me. It’s a feeling of excitement, nervousness, and nostalgia. As the trees end their cycle, I begin mine.
Photo credit Country Living
WAM Collective has been gathering fall colors around the U of MN Campus. This Wednesday at Study Night, participants will be able to use the leaves that we have collected to decorate their own pumpkins. WAM Collective will also host a pumpkin decorating activity on October 30th with Nature Heals 30×30.
Before the month ends, step outside to simply take in the remarkable shades of fall. Inspect all of the hues created because of an intricate, microscopic cycle operating in millions of individual leaves.