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October Colors

HERE IT IS THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER. The beautiful colors in our deciduous trees have revealed themselves almost overnight.

I still don’t understand how photosynthesis produces the green leaves during the spring and summer hiding all the reds, oranges, and yellows only to present themselves for most of October as the trees go through their change prepping for cold weather. Yep, dropping their leaves is a mechanism in the tree’s survival and growth. Or so I’ve read.

I guess I’ll just have to take the word of botanists and their knowledge of the chemical changes behind this phenomenon. I’m also totally impressed that the leaves disappear and come back anew each spring. How in the hell did that phenomenon get started? The skeletal branches of the maples and oaks without leaves are one of my favorite late fall sightings especially when the bright moon is there as a backdrop.

I also love the pines and fir trees displaying nonconformity by maintaining their various shades of green and retaining their needles. They certainly help with their conical shape and bright green color offering such nice contrasts in defining our woodlands. Yes, I know there is a needle drop on white pines, but it is only partial and expresses itself every few years.

Mystifying me further are larch/tamaracks -- wetland trees that turn vibrant yellow-orange and lose their “needles”. You can find stands of them throughout our M-22 counties in wetter soils.

There are lots of oddities and wonderment in the world of trees. I’m glad there are specialists that understand all the intricacies that Mother Nature has engineered. Taking in the beauty and observing the diversity of our trees is a pleasurable approach for me even if I only know just a smidgen about how it all works.

My photo was captured on a cool October morning on my way to Empire along M-22.

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