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!

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