21 November 2010
For those who live in certain parts of the World, these past few weeks are the most beautiful time of year. The spectacle of autumn colours is one of nature’s most awesome displays. I thought I would share some of it from my part of the planet.
These are all from my yard in Northeast Alabama.
Sadly, only a fraction of the humans on Earth see these colours.
The most spectacular displays are found in Eastern Canada and down through the Appalachians into the United States. Northern Europe and Eastern Asia also see spectacular displays.
The China Daily published this photo of Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province.
The leaves are great, but after they fall it takes days to clean the yard!
The science behind the colour is pretty straightforward. The yellows and golds are there all summer. Once the chlorophyll fades as the tree prepares for winter, the autumn hues shine through. The reds tend to be produced in the fall. Science made simple has a good explanation here.
The great physicist Richard Feynman was once asked if knowing nature’s secrets ruined his appreciation of it’s beauty. Here is a quote from his Lectures On Physics:
“ For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”
note: Do I write in international English or American English? I was once told by a grade school teacher that either is correct, as long as you pick one and stay with it. I chose colour instead of color to be different and it has been that way since.