“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
That’s a quote from Anne of Green Gables, and it’s resounding in my mind. Fall is hands-down my favorite time of year. We’re finished with harvest and wildfires around here, and thanks to a couple of good soaking rains, the ground is somewhat moist and the air is clean. The neighborhood porches are sporting a pumpkin or two, and I’ve spied more than a few busy squirrels. The month of October also begins with my birthday and ends with my most favorite celebration of all, Halloween. But in addition to all of these great attributes …
October has leaves!
So many crispy, crunchy, drifting, tumbling, brilliantly colored leaves. On a recent walk, we witnessed the glory of a maple tree that we swear was the definition of neon fuchsia! It is literally raining leaves right now, and I can hear them gently tapping against my window as they fall.
How do the leaves know to fall in October? My curiosity sent me to Google, where I learned that trees possess an inner clock that is triggered by the length of daylight. The tree closes the water and nutrient routes to the leaves in preparation for winter, which causes sugar to build up. Sugar, coupled with a stop in chlorophyll production, is the sign a tree needs to make the pigment anthocyanin, responsible for all the brilliant reds of autumn. A succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights above freezing tend to bring on the most spectacular color displays.