Do you ever wonder why the leaves change colors in during the autumn season?
Autumn leaf color is a phenomenon that affects the normally green leaves of many deciduous trees and shrubs. During a few weeks in the autumn season they turn various shades of red, yellow, purple, black, orange, pink, magenta, blue and brown.
All the colors in the rainbow can be found during the fall season.
"Leaves change color because trees kill them," explains Paul Hetzler, a Horticultural and Natural Resources Educator.
According to Hetzler, as the weather turns cooler, deciduous trees begin to create a waxy layer between the leaf stem and the twig. This prevents any stored nutrients or moisture from reaching the leaves. The pigment that gives leaves their green color, chlorophyll, is the first to fade away.
The reds, the purples, and their blended combinations that decorate autumn foliage come from another group of pigments in the cells called anthocyanins. Unlike the carotenoids, these pigments are not present in the leaf throughout the growing season, but are actively produced towards the end of summer. They develop in late summer in the sap of the cells of the leaf, and this development is the result of complex interactions of many influences — both inside and outside the plant. Their formation depends on the breakdown of sugars in the presence of bright light as the level of phosphate in the leaf is reduced.
Color means many different things to different people and cultures. We all have our own favorite colors. People like different colors as they like different foods. Color also represents feelings, people, countries, cultures, and color symbolism. (http://www.incredibleart.org)
Here are some examples of color symbolism:
Red- energy of the physical body, passion, strength, power, heat
Orange- hope, new beginnings, balance, enthusiasm
Yellow- optimism, idealism, imagination, philosophy
Green- nature, both growth and decay, sensations
Blue- peace, contemplation, unity, trust, truth
Purple- focus for meditation, raises consciousness to a higher level, wisdom, enlightenment
Brown- outdoors, reliability, comfort, endurance
What do these colors mean to you?
Do you notice certain colors over others because they fit your mood or demeanor?
Fall is a season for balancing light and dark, letting go, and accepting the impermanence of things.
On the autumn equinox, day and night are of equal length. This signals the need to balance light and darkness within us. Not just happy, energetic activity, but quiet deep reflection as well.
Autumn Equinox is the "tipping point" of earth's annual Cycle when the Moon overcomes and begins to outdistance the Sun.
Sometimes there is no remedy for our situation than to begin from a point of absolute darkness- or the unknown.
Therefore, metaphorically, this seasonal dance between the Sun and the Moon reminds us that there is a time for activity and a time for rest; a time for concentration and a time for meditation; a time to pursue and a time to relax.
Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden. I find that I’m giving up extra activities and beach sun for more reflection and production.
Buddhist teacher Sharon Saltzberg, another of our Living Spiritual Teachers, writes in Lovingkindness about one of the offshoots of letting go: "Generosity has such power because it is characterized by the inner quality of letting go or relinquishing. Being able to let go, to give up, to renounce, to give generously — these capacities spring from the same source within us. When we practice generosity, we open to all of these liberating qualities simultaneously. They carry us to a profound knowing of freedom, and they also are the loving expression of that same state of freedom."
Like I mentioned in my last blog, Fall also brings home to our consciousness of death and the challenge to live every day to the fullest. When you are brave and have an open heart, you have affection for this world — this sunlight, this other human being, this experience.
What do you need to leave behind (kill- not literally) in order to move forward and grow?
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
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