13th November 2023

We are now in Autumn with cooler, darker days cheered by the leaves as they change to yellow and orange and red before they fall.  The green of the summer is chlorophyll that converts carbon dioxide to carbohydrates using the sun’s energy, so feeding the tree.  It is destroyed by low temperatures and as it fades we can see the other colours that were hidden by the green.  We have more red in the leaves when we have drier, sunnier weather. 

The layer of cells between the leaf stalk and the stem elongate and weaken with shorter days and cooler temperatures so the leaves start to fall.  It helps the trees preserve moisture, and without the leaves they need less energy to survive.  They can also handle winter storms better as winds move through their branches more easily, and the fallen leaves add nutrients to the soil.  Conifers don’t need to shed their needle-shaped leaves as they are smaller and have a waxy coating so lose less water.  The winter winds that rock the trees strengthen the roots ready for the next season.


The wood
is not so much a place
as a presence,
each tree
holding space
under its branches

like a shelter,
the air along the paths rich
with their slow breath
and the trampled scent
of spice.

The leaves are light,
greens grading to gold
with the sun’s flicker,
softening the body
of each vista
like a pulse.

Rain is caught
by the canopy overhead
until it slides earthwards
with plops and drops
long after the rain has stopped.

One falls on my cheek
but I miss
the twirling leaf I chase,
kissing others that still cling
to their branches,
kisses soft as skin.