Whew! I don’t know about you but I am READY for fall. Seems to me it was a hot summer. As we enter fall, I am struck by the myriad of colors beginning to emerge. It serves to remind me what an amazing thing God has made in the photosynthesis process.
As I understand it, the fall colors we love to see in our deciduous trees are there all year long but can only be seen in the fall when photosynthesis slows down and the chlorophyll level drops. Chlorophyll absorbs light that strikes the leaves (except for the green part of the light spectrum) and turns it into energy for the plant in which it resides. Because chlorophyll doesn’t absorb the green spectrum of light, that is what we see when it reflects off the foliage. As chlorophyll levels drop they don’t absorb as much light and more of the light spectrum becomes reflected and we begin to see other colors as well. Those colors are because certain other pigments present in the leaves all year long only reflect their light when the chlorophyll levels drop.
Each plant species tend to take up specific minerals which contain pigments and that is why we see particular colors in particular species of trees. Maples, known for their vibrant colors are high in “carotenoids” which reflect large amounts of red, yellow and gold in the light spectrum. Other trees carry differing amounts of trace elements that give them their distinct fall colors.
What struck me though, was how the beautiful colors are masked by the daily function of the plant. It reminded me that we often do the same thing. We get so busy in our daily lives that even though there is a beautiful spiritual side to us, people often do not see it.
How can we slow down enough to let our own inner life shine? Jesus talks about being the light of the world (go read Matthew 5:14). And, I think in today’s world it is more important than ever for people to see our faith in deed and words. People need to know that Jesus is alive and well. So slow down and let people meet him. It will be good for both of you.