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  • Writer's pictureTony Wootton

Deciduous Dreams

It feels like winter has arrived again, and the endemic red cedars, Toona ciliata, and white cedars, Melia azedarach, and many of the exotic species, are starting to shed their leaves.

Interestingly, the reason the leaves change colour is because the shorter days mean that there is less light falling on the tree, so the chlorophyll, which makes the leaves green, breaks down. This reveals the substances left behind, including compounds such as the carotenoids, the same substance that makes carrots orange.

So we see the leftover substances in the leaves as the beautiful autumn hues, reds, yellows, purples and oranges.

I am constantly contemplating the incredible array of functions going on within trees. The exchange of gases with the atmosphere around them includes respiration, just like us, where they take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide as a byproduct of burning sugar for energy.

Then there is photosynthesis, where carbon dioxide is taken in and used to create sugars, and oxygen is exhaled as a byproduct.

If you are under a tree, then you are most definitely taking in molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide that have been inside that tree.

I invite you to stand or sit there and contemplate this organism, understanding that the life force that is driving these complex systems within the tree is the same life force that is operating in you.



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