The Ladies Page

| January/February 1969



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.


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