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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

Leaves, leaves, and more leaves. I enjoy the colorful leaves of autumn. But for most of my life, I have not enjoyed the bare trees during winter. I am coming around to the rhythm of seasons, including colorful leaves then bare trees.

Across the country, October is the month for leaf color. Shorter days and longer, cooler nights are a signal for the leaf to prepare for winter and to stop making chlorophyll. As chlorophyll is depleted, colors such as red and yellow are unmasked within the leaf. In central Kentucky, including Louisville, Owensboro, and Bowling Green, tree color is usually vibrant closer to the end of October and into the beginning of November. Weather has a large impact on leaf color and drop. The best combination for good leaf color is dry, warm days followed by cool nights without frost and little wind to blow the leaves off the tree. This fall has been beautiful.

Can you identify all the leaves that you see? I understand that two mobile apps, LeafSnap and PlantSnap, can help identify trees and plants by leaf shape. The Smithsonian Institution, Columbia University and the University of Maryland pooled their expertise to create the LeafSnap app. I recently added these apps to my phone. Both apps are educational tools. Perhaps I will use the apps more in the spring: when I see something pretty, the app can tell me what it is.

People have had much to say about the changing and falling leaves of fall. Those quotes include the four below (

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.” – Unknown

“Summer dashed off, her sundress flowing with greens; while Autumn slipped into a gown with jeweled seams.” – Angie Weiland-Crosby

“God blows on the leaves, they turn to gold, and we call it autumn.” – Joyce Rachelle

 “Nothing dies as beautifully as autumn.” – Ashlee Willis, A Wish Made of Glass

American theologian Tryon Edwards said, “One of the great lessons the fall of the leaf teaches is this: do your work well and then be ready to depart when God shall call.” Those beautifully colored leaves help us mark the seasons of life. Let’s get out and enjoy the beauty!


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