Green to Gold to Bare

“Autumn carries more gold in its pockets

than all the other seasons.”

Jim Bishop

The stunning golds tones of autumn are something that have always been special to me.

Autumn is my mums favourite season, and when I was little every car convocation would be puctuated by her squeals of ‘ooooow just look at those colours!’. Its the season where walks are all about leaf fights, wet dogs, and muddy wellies. Spiced, warmed, mulled cider is an expectable beverage, and my dad finally allows the fire to be lit as those cold evenings start to draw in.

However, special and important for my drinking tastes though it may be, I had never given much thought as to how the leaves create these spectacular displays for us to meander our lazy way beneath.

But I now have the answer for you…

The posh term for a tree shedding its leaves is abscission (now that’s a pub quiz winning question if I ever saw one!) which is were the fragile fronds are discarded from the main body of the plant to prevent damage to it when they either freeze, or begin to desictate over the cold wet winter months.

Now usually I wouldn’t consider anything that requires the use of the word ‘desicate’ to be described as beautiful, but oddly enough the decay of the Autumn months is precisely where it’s glory lies.
The main plant slowly withdraws crucial pigments such as chlorophyll (the green colouring that makes carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis) which creates a line of dead cells at the base of the stem. This line then fractures, separating the leaf which then falls to ground for us to crunch though. Then, after the leaf fights, and my dads seemingly never ending war to keep them off the lawn, they will eventually create nourishment for the next generation.

A strangely beautiful process when you brake it down that way, but beautiful nether the less.


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