Posted by: atowhee | November 1, 2021


Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. –Robert Frost

“A Reflection in Autumn”
Now autumn’s come, adieu the pleasing greens
The charming landscape, and the flow’ry plain
All have deserted from these motley scenes
With blighted yellow ting’d and russet stain… –John Clare

Why so hopeless and downcast, poets? The leaf-lending trees are about to replenish the soil in which they live. Below ground, out of our limited, narrow vision the trees’ roots and lilies’ rhizomes grow and expand. The fungi and mold and worms and beetle larvae thrive and build soil and spread nutrients. Nature knows that no one-sided economy can expand forever in this climate, so she shuts down that summer business and below the surface refreshes, replaces, nourishes. It is her wisdom we must try to understand if we and those around us (birds, bees, basil, bluebells) are to survive.

These leaves have not been frosted. But they are Frost-ed, once bright gold they have quickly faded to these more earthy, earthly tones. From a bigleaf maple they will rapidly shrivel and become humus

Chemicals produce fall colors in leaves. Carotenoids create orange and yellow pigments, and anthocyanins create shades of red and purple. The carotenoids are present in the leaf all summer long, but they’re covered up by the chlorophyll greens.

All is flux. To pretend otherwise is pointless. The flux will out. Nature conserves by constant change. We should pay attention.

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