Special thanks to Ann-Christine for providing the photos. Ann-Christine is in Sweden and I encourage readers to visit her photography blog Leya: To see a world in a grain of sand. Please tell her I sent you and feel free to comment on her images here. Ann-Christine’s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.
I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
The only trees I see as I walk are the palms on the condo properties. So on this day, I think about the trees of home.
My home does not have the palms of the coast, but my mind sees the deciduous trees of Ohio – those losing their leaves every fall after showing a brilliant display of color.
Ever wonder why a tree is a tree? Yes, its roots anchor it to the ground and take in water and nutrients from the soil for the entire tree; but the tree is more. The wood in the trunk and branches provide the strength to stand tall while transporting materials throughout its body. But it’s the leaves that resonate with me today. That is, leaves the noun, not the verb.
Leaves – those growths off of the tree’s appendages we call limbs.
Leaves – some small, others large – some simple, others compound – some with smooth edges, others lobed or serrated.
Leaves – some grow off the branch opposite of each other – others alternate side to side along that supporting stem.
Leaves – they live, grow, climb, unfold, wilt, die, fall, and return.
Leaves – the site for food production for the tree. Yes – leaves are the tree’s kitchen for a process called photosynthesis. We remember that light is involved in making food – but questions remain like “Why?” and “What happens to the food?”
Leaves – the part of the tree making the food for the entire tree because the tree is not a hunter or a predator. The tree lives a stationary life, so it can’t hunt or get the food that it needs for survival – so it makes its own.
Leaves – those thin flat structures containing microscopic holes allowing the movement of gases in and out for the tree – primarily water vapor, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Both oxygen and carbon dioxide are needs and wastes of different processes. Yes, the tree needs oxygen just as we do – and lots of it – and for the same reason – energy for sustaining life processes.
We and many other living things take in food and oxygen for our cells to use for essential life processes. The tree makes its food so its cells can use that food for those processes.
Leaves – all those leaves. Those green patches give the tree a full appearance. Sometimes they number in the hundreds – other times in the thousands or even several hundred thousands.
Leaves on a tree are not woven together like patches on a quilt because that would not allow the tree to stand tall and withstand the winds. Leaves must allow the air to move through the tree, which also creates the soothing sound of a gentle rustle.
Those same spaces allow glimmers of light to pass through that serve as the light of ideas, hope, and comfort – all signs of a positive future.
Leaves – the hands of a tree having many arms that reach out to touch us. Leaves – the eyes of the tree reaching out to gather necessary light to live its life. Leaves – the heart of the tree’s steady rhythm.
Leaves – from the four-leaf clover to shaking when we are nervous or even the fig leaf of embarrassment. From turning over a new leaf for a fresh start to taking a leaf out of one’s book to accomplish something like someone, leaves are special.
Leaves are design and art – the design for functionality and a role in nature – the art for beauty, emotion, and symbolism. The patterns for design, art, metaphors, and wonderful to think about while walking the beach
Thinking about leaves also reminds me of the smell of playing in a pile of autumn leaves, followed by the smell of them burning. I also enjoy smelling the sea air when I walk, which is an elixir for relaxation and renewal. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have written about leaves
- Autumn Walk (by a past collaborator here)
- The perils of leaves (photos and short essay)
- Falling leaves (a poem)
- Leaves & trees (photos)
- Leaves floating in the whispering wind (a poem by a visitor here)
Next Post: Stones * – Thursday 25 March @ 1 AM (Eastern US)
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