Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The forest knows its time
This fall is already turning into a very interesting one for me to watch. The change from green to yellow progresses noticeably a little bit more every day. This year I can’t say that dryness is a factor, nor can I say that cool nights are speeding up the process. The forest is anything but dry this year. The night time temperature is pretty average and still flirting with 60 degrees.
So despite having every weather advantage that could extend the summer season, the forest still knows it is time to begin changing from green to yellow. I fully expected the green color to last longer than usual this year. The forest still hasn’t taken on that dull green shade usually prevalent in late summer. The forest still looked as though it was mid-summer right up through Labor Day.
Since then, however, the leaves have begun changing their color, going directly from a deep green to yellowing, without much of that dull shade of green evident at all. Now it’s true the fall season is still very early and the leaves haven’t yet fallen, so it is possible the leaves will eventually hang on for longer than usual. But the evidence I see in the forest today is that the season is changing and it’s pretty much right on schedule.
So I’m left with the idea that the shortening hours of daylight plays far more of a role in when the leaves change than does moisture or temperature. Those two factors may not even be real factors at all, since this year both seem to be at optimal levels for extending the season, and yet the yellowing is still on schedule.
The forest always has lessons to teach, in every year, in every season. I never tire of learning them. I doubt I ever will.
Today's photo are dogwood berries, the first red shade I've seen in the forest this season.