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Autumn Leaves

posted Oct 3, 2016, 4:08 PM by Sue Fried
God formed me from the dust of the ground, and breathed into my nostrils the breath of life; and the I became a living being. (Adapted from Genesis 2:7)
Many people think tree leaves fall and die during the fall season because of weather changes, but studies have shown the real reason for leaves falling is drought. This is because the primary function of leaves is photosynthesis, and photosynthesis requires the use of water, carbon dioxide and light to create food in the leaves to generate organic compounds and oxygen. In order to induce a suction force, however, the leaves will need to constantly sweat, and in the fall shed them so as not to get dried. As daylight gets shorter during fall, however, the leaves will gradually suffer thirst because of the reducing absorption of water with the shrinking daylight. This means even when trees live in wet climate with abundant snowfall and rainfall or even when in the warmest of falls, the trees will still lose their leaves, triggered by the shortened length of daylight.
Many changes occur in the leaves before they finally fall from the branch. According to Joe Lamp’L of DIY Network who wrote an article on ‘Why do leaves fall in autumn?’ at, changing colors of leaves during fall is part of an important and complicated process which ends in the leaves being shed at the end of each growing season. The trees, in protecting themselves, purge diseased, damaged or dead leaves, while they seal the point where the petiole connects to it. As the climate and light conditions of autumn evolve, tree hormones change as well, the most notable of which is auxin, a hormone in trees that promotes root formation and bud growth. The balance of auxin levels between leaves and branches is the key to determining if and when the leaves drop.
Much like the processes that end in the fall of tree leaves during the autumn season, a life of faith requires attention to our spirit in the way we live our lives. Like the leaves of autumn, we often fall under the dry spell experiencing a disconnection from God who is the Spirit of Life, forgetting that our very breathing is an act of spiritual connection with God (Genesis 2:7). Spiritual drought can happen when we are too caught up with the entanglements of this world and if we are not careful, we may, like the ‘photosynthesis,’ gradually fail to absorb the necessary energy from the light of the sun to produce food from water and carbon dioxide. When that happens, we will eventually lose our ‘leaves’ of a close relationship with God, who continuously gives life, triggered by the shortened length of ‘daylight’ because we neglect the source of all Life.
Many changes can occur in our lives if we spend too much time in the entanglements of this world which can lead us to finally fall from the ‘branch’ that connects us to God. The author of the Gospel of John has Jesus telling us of the importance of connection, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.” (John 15:5). Embrace the way you nourish your life, give life in our world and realize these are natural connections for you with God, the giver of life.