A Day in the Life of a Red Maple Leaf

A Day in the Life of a Red Maple Leaf

This is my time to shine.

I've been pumped with chlorophyll and have been using the sun's energy to make simple sugars from water and carbon dioxide all spring and summer long. These carbohydrates have helped me and my siblings grow and survive windy days on these branches that we call home. This is a good thing, too, since some of us can get a little leery of heights until we feel strong enough.

It's been one of my better years. Mother Nature has been good to me and I've had a long and wonderful summer.

But now, I'm not getting as much chlorophyll, and a layer of cork cells at my base  is closing off my flow of water and nutrients. The breakdown of all this sugar (can anyone say sugar high?) and the sun's bright light is making my skin lose its green shade. This means it's the one time of year when I can lose my inhibitions and let my true colors shine through.

It's complicated, though. In order for me to really shine on nature's stage, I have to hope Mother Nature can continue to deliver the perfect mixture of environmental factors. She needs to bring me autumn days that are bright, sunny and cool, nights that are cold, but not below freezing, and just the right mix of rainfall. If she does this, and I'm in a good location to benefit from these conditions and have maintained solid health, then I can steal the show and be the talk of the town. This is my chance to make it big in autumn history.

I'm part of a tree that lines the edge of a beautiful park entrance, enhancing the landscape of a nature center, where I can influence visitors to look my way. And six dozen (or more - I've lost count) families that came to enjoy a fall festival in the park have really made me believe this might be my year. Each one of them have looked up and smiled at me, pointing and beaming at my color. I have shed my lime skin and am revealing the brightest, shiniest cherry I've ever shown. I think mine may be the most vivid and dazzling on the entire tree.

And then it happens. Not in a rush. Not too late in the season.At just the right moment.

A consistent but light gust of wind rushes through my branches and, in a shutter, I fall, cascading down, down, down in a soft, light flutter to the ground at the toes of a small girl. She might be 7 years old and has auburn curls and fair skin with pink cheeks. She stops and picks me up. She is admiring me with a sparkle in her green eyes - eyes that remind me of my former skin. I hear her mother call her name - Caroline. And as she looks up to say she's coming, I'm afraid she's going to drop me. Instead, she clutches me close and runs after her mom and the rest of her family.

And I am home. In the delicate hand of a girl who is going to admire me and keep me and preserve me.

There is no better way to exit stage left.

Add a comment:
Featured or Related Blog Posts
  • Tune In

    So I haven't played a comic book superhero with incredible powers like telekinesis or the ability to fly. And I haven't donned fangs and sported the trendy tall, dark and handsome vampire look. But, now and again, my fellow Davey arborists and I have something in common with such unique characters: doing something really cool and doing it with a "wow" factor you can see on television.

    That's right, Davey has enjoyed a few minutes of broadcast fame - admittedly not as much as those vampires or superheroes we all know and love - but it still counts, right?

    Our most popular eye candy? moving massive trees. You may or may not know this, but Davey has been moving trees since the 1920s! In fact, we've recently combined our operation with Environmental Design Inc., which equals more than a century of tree moving.

    Read More
  • "Leaf" It to Mother Nature: Falling for Creative Fall Crafts

    'Tis the season for tree canopies to explode with color. Tree leaves exemplify the sun's gradually diminishing heat as the brightest of warm hues paint splotches of color along the surface. Oranges, yellows , reds and plums drape each tree leaf with such beauty for such a brief period of time you can only wish it would last all year long.

    Although Mother Nature limits the highly anticipated fall foliage color show to only a few months of the year, you can preserve autumn's aura by dedicating a bit of extra care, attention and creativity to the leaves falling from the trees.

    Why not share the love you're feeling for fall by preserving some of its best assets--crisp, brightly colored leaves, freshly fallen from the trees--and transforming them into art? Dry and press them like flower petals between the pages of old books and newspapers. Hang them like garland from the railings along your staircase or front porch. Or coat them in wax or Mod Podge® to protect the leaves from losing their color throughout the coming seasons.

    Read More
  • Cherry Crush

    For centuries, trees have been planted to honor an accomplishment, important milestone or rite of passage - birth, graduation, wedding, retirement, death, to name a few.

    And the specific type of tree chosen usually has some symbolic meaning relative to the event. For instance, the oak tree has always been a symbol of strength and courage - "the mighty oak," they always say. And the Bonsai tree has long symbolized harmony, peace and balance.

    When someone plants one tree to mark a triumph, it's quite significant. But in early April this year, when I was in Washington, D.C. traveling for Davey Tree, I saw such a stunning display of trees and realized when someone plants many trees in a symbolic fashion, the result can be extraordinary.

    Read More
  • Happy Arbor Day!

    Don't worry, I won't be long-winded today. Just hope you'll join me in celebrating National Arbor Day. If you're a tree buff like I am, this is truly a great holiday!

    While you're celebrating your trees today, take a few minutes and check out a website that some of my friends at Davey just launched. It's a place where you can share your tree stories and memories. I'm planning to do that myself soon, and I hope to see your story there!

     

    Read More
  • The Bird-y Bunch

    It's a rainy, gray Saturday morning in spring. Our previously planned trip to the local park is canceled - wet bottoms and mud pies just don't seem that appealing today when we were longing for shorts and sunshine.

    Yet, despite the initial disappointment, my 8-year-old daughter picks up her spirits quicker than I do. She spends at least an hour marveling at the birds out of our family room windows. They flit and flutter from tree to tree and back and forth to the two bird feeders we have hanging from hawthorn trees.

    Little wrens, chickadees and nuthatches are always present, hopping next to the slower, fatter, cooing doves. Then, in a bright red streak, the cardinal flies in, going from the trees straight to the ground, picking up the seed the other smaller birds have discarded.

    Read More

Request a consultation

What do you need services for?
Sorry, we can’t seem to find the zip code you specified. Our residential tree care offices may not service your area. If you believe this is an error, please try again. Need help? Email us at info@davey.com.
  • Email newsletter
  • Woodchips
*Please fill out all required fields.