Wednesday, 1 October 2008

To Everything There Is A Season: Looking Up from the Economic Mess to See the Geese Flying

The world is in flux, and not just economically. Yesterday afternoon I heard a skein of Canada geese honking their way across the sky, and at noon the farm program on the CBC was full of complaints about geese scouring fields as they begin their migration. One of panelists, a dairy farmer, told of having to out six or seven times a day to shoo them away. Last week travelling by train from Ottawa to Toronto we saw a couple of hundred of them rise from a lake or marsh in the distance, fly seemingly randomly at first and then slowly form the familiar Vs as they gained altitude.

Seems a little early for the migration to me. I usually hear the flocks flying over a little later in October, but perhaps this year is different in some way. Certainly the trees are turning glorious colours earlier than I’ve noted in the past. Last year it was a dry during the summer, but began to rain in September and it seemed the leaves stayed on the branches quite a long time as if to draw all the strength they could from the growing season. This summer was lush and wet, and already many trees are turning fabulous shades of red and gold. Perhaps the good conditions allowed them to store up lots of sugar which now they can display as if at their leisure since the temperatures have so far stayed quite warm. (Is there a lesson about saving to draw from this? Maybe.)

Whatever, on this mild, overcast morning several of the trees in the cemetery were already glowing with colour as if lit from the interior. This annual spectacle is one of the pleasures of living in this climate, and a reminder that there are forces in action that continue no matter what our current, pressing worries are.

And if you’d like to know more about the science behind this (because most things have a explanation) check out the National Geographic’s 2004 article “Why Do Fall Leaves Change Color?”

1 comment:

Muzition said...

I was in Orford in the last weekend of September. The leaf colours there were more spectacular than they'd been in years.