Friday, October 28, 2011

How Can I Keep From Seeing Part Too --

The color inhalation continued.  Actually, south of where I live, farther away from Lake Erie, the trees are more brown than yellow and orange.  There are still some blazingly bright trees.  Some sluggish Maples and lazy Oaks, but the majority of trees have lost more than half their leaves.  Many have bare branches on top and fluttering colors on the bottom branches.  I think the winds of last week helped to clear the upper reaches of these trees.  But still, colors are all around us.

The swath of leaf color from green to pale green to yellow and red and orange make up the Fall vista.  The drops of dew glisten.  
Driving down the road I start to think of the science here.  The carotenoid and xanthophyll pigments are what we see.   The chlorophylls are "dying", fading away and the hidden colors show through.  I think of leaf chromatography and Rf values. Mobile phases and stationary phases.  Just the Biology teacher sneaking out.  Fall means color, and cool temperatures, and Halloween, and football games and pumpkins and paper chromotography lessons and photosynthesis and "Why do the leaves change color Mr. Benz?" "Is it the temperature or the day length?"  "What should we use to dissolve the colors out of the leaves to run our chromatogram?"  "Will water work?"  "How about alcohol?"  "If water dissolved the colors what would the trees look like after the first rain?"
Oh sorry, just a "teacher flashback".  Happens all the time.  No problem.  In fact, it usually brings a smile to my face.  If I happen to be around other folks when this happens I find myself teaching again.  (Whether they like it or not!)

But I must continue to look at the colors, and sometimes to peer throughout the colors to see the rest of the natural world.  Winter is coming and everyone is getting ready for this change.   My bird food doesn't seem to stay in the feeder quite as long.  The Fall ladybugs are getting everywhere.  On the house, on the doors, IN the house, everywhere.  Winter is coming and we must be prepared.  But wait, one last look.  I am remind.  I just can't keep from seeing!  

One last mole!

How Can I Keep From Seeing ?!?

Tell me--Just How Can I Keep From Seeing?   I know, the real title is How Can I Keep From Singing? But the point is --it is Fall (or Autumn,) in N.E. Ohio.  The sun is finally shining (an unusual event this year--2011 is the wettest year ever, Ever, EVER in Ohio.  Actually that is really hard to tell, but at least since we started keeping records.)  We had an early heavy frost, now dew is on the ground and on the leaves.  N.E. Ohio is alive with color. Beauty is all around.  The crisp air is punctuated with the falling leaves that have had their days of color and are now starting their journeys back to the nutrients that make up the forest floor.

Everywhere I go my eyes are treated with an incredible array of colors.  Just like in the Spring when the trees and shrubs and grasses are just starting to come alive with every green on the pallet, every color of yellow and gold and red and rust and even brown whisk by as I travel.  Actually this is a pretty dangerous time for me to be driving around.  The trees draw my eyes from where they should be. Texting while driving is stupid!  Using your mobile phone while driving is silly.  I guess looking at the passing trees is somewhere in there too, but it is almost irresistible!  It is much better to stop, get out, and actually look at the wonders of nature's colorfest.  Or--just look outside my back window.  Gaze out my back door.  Stand on my deck and feast on the sunlight and the colors.  With a cup of hot coffee or tea, a camera around one neck and a pair of binoculars around the other I can't imagine a prettier scene.  The birds seem more active, the light brighter, and the colors more magnificent than in the summer.  At least that is what my mind perceives. Maybe it is because we have had so few sunny days this year.  Maybe it is because I am looking a little harder.  None the less, it is bringing a smile to my face.  But how could it not?   Well a quick thought of the coming winter passed through my thoughts.  The Northeast got their first measurable snow last night and today.  But thoughts of snow and ice are only quick thoughts and the colors of Fall come back to the forefront once again.  The camera isolates the beauty.  It separates the incredible leaves and trees from the other incredible leaves and trees.  Sometimes this is good.  You can see details, notice specific colors.  But the awe is often in the panorama of color and light and dark that the eyes see and the camera misses. 
Yet, here I sit writing about it.  I think I need to go out again.  Be in the colors.  Smell the colors.  Feel the colors.  That's it -- you feel the colors of Fall!  Well, I need to go out feeling for awhile.  I'll be back.  I'll bring some colors back too!  I ask--How can I keep from seeing?  From smelling? From feeling?   

I can't  !!