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COUNTRY ECHOES

BRANDON WISCONSIN R.R-2 ZIP-53919

This morning I have set my timer on the stove for one half hour, and then I must get breakfast. And as I did it I said to myself, what a miracle. My grandmother didn't have something such as this by which to apportion her time if she so wished. The miracles of the world we live in have been much on my mind of late. It gives me hope that by some miracle our remarkable country may come out of the mess we find she is in.

The earth is resting now, covered by multiplied millions of leaves. But before these leaves turned an earthy brown they were brilliant in their autumn display of color. Why, I asked myself, and then I found a part of the answer. One would think that God has a big paint brush with which he goes about while we sleep and adds another color to his huge canvas every night.

But we find that a sequence of events in nature bring these amazing results. It is involved with temperature, light and moisture. Beside this there are hereditary factors which help to determine just what color your favorite tree is going to be. There is a different process involved for trees that become merely a huge ball of gold and those in which such radiant reds and soft plum colors appear. It has to do with pigments according to a man from our state of Wisconsin. He is a plant physiologist at the University of Wisconsin. This Theodore Kozlowski discounts that frost has any direct effect on coloring the more dazzling colors appear in clear, dry, cool air, and rain and frost only dull what could have been a gorgeous display.

Kozlowski giver the following as his theory of how it all comes about. Underlying the chlorophyll on each leaf are yellow and orange pigments which do not show their color when the lovely green of the spring and summer leaves are so pleasing to our eyes. When the cool clear days of autumn come the production of chlorophyll decreases which brings out the underlying colors in all their beauty as the leaves release their hold on life.

Some trees carry brownish pigments called tannins and therefore we have the beeches and oaks display to us an entirely different picture than the maples.

The maples and sumac are glorified in their manner due to another pigment called anthocyanin. I was so happy to learn about all of this because it explains something to me which I had pondered of for some ten years.

In 1957 we made a trip to the east coast through Canada and down through the New England States. In the woods of Ontario and Quebec spring was showing its full glory. The trees were leafing in the most amazing display of pinks, yellows, orange, delicate greens, and even brilliant reds in certain sections. Amongst the almost black connifers it made a display I have never forgotten And I kept asking myself why we didn't have these colors in the spring in Wisconsin.

Now, after all this time, I find the answer. It must be the right combination of coolness and light in Canada to produce this marvelous display. When we visited Banff and Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies we were so impressed by the bright colors of the flowers there also and the quality of the air. So here I pass on the explanation to you in case you may have wondered. It is but another of God's miracles.

This winter we are enjoying the health and delicious flavor of rose hip jelly. Tests have shown that rose hips, the pretty red seed apples on your rose bushes contain up to sixty times as much vitamin C as oranges. When I began to explore this topic I found that there is such a thing as rose hip soup also. A Swedish writer friend of mine claims that her ancestors ate it. Rose hips can be used either fresh or dried. They have a pleasing flavor. In the Scandinavian countries they are used for tea, and sauces as well.

As my friend and I were talking she told me of how she had been rather sickly as a child and was sent to her uncle's home to improve her health. Her uncle had a large rose garden and little Thyra found the fall rose hips delicious as a country snack. The uncle became a little alarmed that his niece had such peculiar eating habits. He reported this to her parents and their doctor who both declared these would not harme her. On the contrary the girl began to improve readily and was soon apply-cheeked and robust again. Now she knows it was the rose hips.

We chuckled together about this incident and spoke of how wonderfully God cares for His people. Now, in her sixties, Thyra is still apple-cheeked and lively. Of course, we both get tired, we are not so young any more. But after we have seen the miracles on earth we can scarcely wait for the miracles of heaven. To both of us it is the great adventure, just to be alive, to be friends, to be able to watch the unfolding of seasons. Right now in Wisconsin the geese are entertaining us with their honking serenades morning and afternoon as they come to feed on our land and that on all the farms around us. Where they get too much of a nuisance they have set up devises which make shooting sounds at intervals during the day and night. When I first heard them I thought the army had come to town. You see, we live about ten miles from the famous Horicon Marsh where at present they estimateed 130,000 geese were stopping off for a month or two.

When this comes into print Christmas will be at hand and the geese will have long flown farther south. But in the meantime they are to me another miracle, a part of the changing seasons, and an affirmation of God's care, come what may. So have a Happy Holiday and a New Year filled with miracles which leave you ever searching for the joys which are yet to come.