Fall brings about a pull on the heartstrings. With the leaves growing richer and riper each day, I watch in awe as our world is transformed into what can truly be called a magical place.
With summers that are hot and dry, many years we go for two months without rain, yet the crops and trees produce abundant yields. Indiana is known for its 90 degrees with 90% humidity weather! But as much as we may find it uncomfortable, each night when the weather cools just a bit, we reach the dew point. And almost every night, bathed in dew, the plants drink their fill through their leaves. The ground may be dry, but the plants thrive.
Each year I watch the miracle of dew and marvel at our planet’s design.
Fall is another marvel to me. I watch the sun’s energy, stored in the warm ocean, create hurricanes of such ferocity and power that they bring massive showers to the midwest just when everything is bone dry.
It happens like clockwork. Just when the leaves on the trees reach their peak color – usually the 2nd to 3rd week of October – the rain and wind bring them to the ground.
For years I was disappointed at the timing of the rains. They always seemed to cut short the beauty of the season. A tree that is one day covered in colorful splendor is reduced by the rain and wind to barren branches and wet leaves on the ground.
But one spring day about two years ago I dug through those leaves, and I will never forget the “aha” moment! Buried below the oak tree in that pile of wet leaves were acorns – sprouting acorns! That’s when it hit me – the fall rains first soaked the bone-dry soil, then came the blanket of wet leaves. Then the wet ground froze – and we all know freezing makes things expand. The expansion of the soil made it all loose for the young tender roots of the acorns to grow in the spring.
And not only did the fall rains affect the trees, every part of the landscape from prairies to potholes are loosened and prepared by this expansion. It is truly as if the soil were being plowed for planting each spring.
As I watch our planet’s wildlife prepare for this winter, I am filled with awe at the beauty and splendor of the design. Winter comes, yes. But before it, there is an invitation to prepare. The flocks of redwings ask all to join in – all to attend the migration.The slowly falling temperatures and shorter days, the bounty of nuts invite squirrels to lay up provisions. From apples to pumpkins, corn and soybeans to thistle seed and Queen Anne’s lace, our entire planet is provided sustenance.
Every animal and plant is being tucked in for the winter ahead.
May our ground be plowed by the winter frost, that come spring, our roots may go deeper.