Monday, November 19, 2012

Hanging On

Moving into Thanksgiving week. I spent a long weekend at Victor's place on the Maine coast. It's always a treat for the visual senses up there. When you get to Maine you discover that all the leaves have fallen. The only green that remains is in the conifers.

But a closer look reveals something different. You have to get out of the car to see it. You have to spend some time walking and listening to your own footsteps. As a trained botanist I always look down and that's part of the strategy too.

When you get to the coast the water is a sheet of still beauty. Looking around in the underbrush shows you that there are still plants with green leaves. Even this late in the season. Seeing these leaves holding on reminded me; fall is long in coming to the Northeast. Even though the sun has faded and even though there have been several frosts there are plants whose leaves continue to hang on.

Do they continue to provide nutrients for the plant this late in the season? Are they protecting next season's tender buds? Or are they just a response to a relatively mild microclimate next to the water?

The living leaves remind me that beneath the dead looking tissue there is still life. There's plenty of life under the still unfrozen ground also. LIfe hangs on even when the circumstances seem less than optimal. It's a good reminder to stay optimistic.

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