The Maple Tree at Twilight, Autumn Leaf Colors, and a Poem - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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The Maple Tree at Twilight, Autumn Leaf Colors, and a Poem

Linda Crampton is a teacher who enjoys reading and creative writing. Her favourite genres are classic literature, fantasy, myth, and poetry.

Leaves dropped by my maple tree in September

Leaves dropped by my maple tree in September

The Maple Tree and Autumn

The leaves of the maple tree in my front garden have beautiful colors in the fall. I enjoy examining the leaves that are dropped by the plant. In autumn, I often stand or sit near the tree shortly before darkness falls. I stay there as twilight arrives. Twilight, or the transition from light to dark, is a special time for me.

Autumn can be a meaningful season. It's a time to celebrate the harvest. Traditional foods and drinks can be an enjoyable part of the season. In addition, the last wild flowers of the year are lovely to see. The colors of leaves are another beautiful component of autumn. In this article, I discuss fall colors and twilight. I also include a poem about my maple tree and its surroundings as I observed them during an autumn twilight.

More leaves dropped by the maple tree

More leaves dropped by the maple tree

Beautiful Autumn Leaf Colors

My maple tree drops leaves with multiple colors. I prefer the attractive mix of red, purple, yellow, and green in a leaf to the fiery red of some maple leaves. Some of the leaves dropped by my tree are green, as they were in spring and in summer. All of them served the plant well. The sugars that the leaves made nourished the plant and were used to make other chemicals that it needed.

Pigments in living things are fascinating. In general, though they may make the organism attractive, that’s not their primary job. Occasionally, a pigment is due to a genetic problem and has no particular benefit (like the blue protein in some lobster shells), but pigments usually have important functions.

Underneath the tree in September

Underneath the tree in September

Functions of Leaf Pigments

The green pigment in plants is chlorophyll. It’s a vital chemical for the plant and for life on Earth. Chlorophyll absorbs light energy. The plant uses the energy to create sugars and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water during photosynthesis. We benefit from the sugars and other molecules made by plants when we eat them. We also benefit from the chemicals added to plant tissues in other ways. Yet another advantage of photosynthesis is the addition of oxygen to the atmosphere.

Carotenoids are yellow-orange pigments that are present throughout the year but are normally hidden by the chlorophyll. They absorb light of different wavelengths from chlorophyll. This light is also used in photosynthesis. Anthocyanins are red or purple pigments in leaves that are produced near the end of the growing season.

It’s not certain why anthocyanins are made in leaves that will soon be dropped from the tree. Several theories attempt to explain their production. The leading one seems to be that the pigment protects cells in the aging leaves from damage by sunlight and enables photosynthesis to continue for as long as possible.

Definition of twilight

1: the light from the sky between full night and sunrise or between sunset and full night produced by diffusion of sunlight through the atmosphere and its dust

— Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The Nature of Twilight

Twilight is the time between sunset and night or between sunrise and morning. At night, it’s sometimes referred to as dusk. In the morning, it’s sometimes called dawn. The change from day to night or vice versa is an interesting time and can be an impressive sight. The pink sky that sometimes develops is attractive.

Twilight at night has always seemed like a magical time to me. Some people use the word to describe the last part of a person’s life, as in the phrase “twilight years.” That’s not the image that the word creates in my mind. Twilight at night is followed by darkness, but the light always reappears in the morning. That seems like a sign of hope for me, as does the fact that the word "twilight" is also used to describe dawn.

Twilight can be explained scientifically by the movement of the Earth around the sun, the angle of the sun's rays as they reach the Earth, and the composition of the atmosphere. The explanation is satisfying, but only up to a point. Some questions about the universe and the laws of nature remain unanswered. The poem below is based on a recent twilight that I experienced by the maple tree.

Twilight by the Maple Tree

Light begins to fade

in honor of the dark,

and leaves drop to the ground

like an evening song,

with colored notes of praise

amplified by rain

and gifted to the soil

in thanks for nourishment.


The moon behind a cloud

can still express her power

as daylight disappears.

The tree becomes a silhouette

that seems to stretch towards the sky,

perhaps in hope of being blessed

by lunar majesty.

Light and dark connect

as twilight casts her spell.


Those leaves still attached

move gently in the breeze

till silence stills the air.

The mystery of the dark

entwines belief and hope,

abscission for the leaves

and wonderment for me.


The scent of supper spreads

from evening ritual

as darkness settles in.

Nature’s colors disappear

and human ones prevail

reminding me of joys to come,

good food and company

to celebrate the Earth

and humanity as well.

© 2020 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 28, 2020:

Hi, Nithya. It is lovely to observe the colors of fall. Autumn can be an enjoyable season. Thanks for the comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 28, 2020:

Thank you very much, Dora. I would love to explore the Caribbean.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 28, 2020:

A beautiful poem and interesting facts about pigments. It must be wonderful to observe the maple tree with all its changing colors, must be gorgeous!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 28, 2020:

Beautiful content and expressions in this excellent poem! Stuck here in the Caribbean (not a complaint), I will miss the colors of autumn this year, but your article revives the memories. Thanks.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 26, 2020:

I appreciate your kind comment very much, Mel. Thank you for the visit.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on September 26, 2020:

Bravo, beautiful poem! For someone who swims so skillfully through the sciences, you have a real poet's soul.

I forgot what autumn was here in Southern California. Here we only have various shades of yellow-green. Lovely work.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 26, 2020:

Thank you, Denise. Fall colors and twilight can be beautiful. Blessings to you.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on September 26, 2020:

Beautiful. I love fall and the colors. And twilight is a magical time when light submits to dark. This was lovely.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 26, 2020:

Thank you for commenting, Anupam.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on September 26, 2020:

A nature poet. Loved the poem

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

I appreciate your comment, Peggy. I know that abscission isn't a common word outside of science, but the sound of the word seemed right for the poem.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2020:

I love the fall season of the year. I remember the spectacular colors of the sugar maple trees when we lived in Wisconsin. Your poem was lovely, and I learned a new word: abscission. Thanks!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

I appreciate your visit and comment, Eman. I hope you have an enjoyable weekend.

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on September 25, 2020:

Autumn is considered the most beautiful season of the year in terms of temperature as well as the colors of the trees’ leaves. I enjoyed reading this article very much. Thank you, Linda

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Mary. I looked at my tree this morning and noticed that it has a lot more orange and green and red and green leaves than it did when I started working on this article. The change in color is accelerating. I wish I could see the trees by your cottage.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 25, 2020:

I am now at the cottage and enjoying the Fall colors. We are surrounded by woods of Maples so the colors are spectacular. Sadly, we will enjoy this for only a few days more.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Thank you for the comment, Heidi. It sounds like you have a lovely collection of trees in your garden. I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 25, 2020:

Fall is my favorite time of the year! The leaves, as you've shown, are just amazing. I also have a maple tree, a honey locust, and a purple beech. So the mix of leaf colors and shapes is just stunning in the fall.

Interesting that we don't actually know why trees produce anthocyanins that create those wonderful colors. But whatever the reason, we'll appreciate the color show.

Thanks for sharing the beauty with us! Have a great weekend!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Flourish. I visited Maine many years ago in the summer. It would have been lovely to see the fall colors there and to see the scene that you describe. The state contains some beautiful scenery.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Bill. I used to live in the eastern part of Canada. I have to admit that while individual trees are beautiful in autumn here, the overall effect is nicer in the east. Many trees have beautiful colors there. I hope you have a great week.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Liza. Yes, it's my maple tree. It's changing color and losing its leaves, but many leaves remain on the tree and they're still green. I know from my experience in prior years that the color change and the leaf fall are going to accelerate soon. I hope you have an enjoyable autumn.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Fran. I had to smile when I read your comment. Raking the leaves is one part of having a maple tree in the garden that I left out of the article. At the moment, the tree is gently dropping its leaves. I know there's going to be an onslaught soon!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Thank you, Pamela. Autumn is an enjoyable season. There's a lot to write about!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Maren. Maples are lovely trees. I think the maple is a worthy plant for the flag! Thanks for the comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Lorna. I enjoy walks through the forest in fall, too. There's a lot to enjoy at this time of year. Thank you very much for the visit and the comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 25, 2020:

Fall is my favorite time and your poem captures leafy highlights. I used to live in Maine and I’ve never seen nature so vivid as fall leaves against the green grass and blue sky and quaint country churches. Nice place to visit.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Hi, Devika, I think autumn is a lovely season, especially in September and October. There are some interesting things to explore at this time of year. Thank you for the comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

I appreciate your comment very much, Chitrangada. This is an interesting time of year.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 25, 2020:

Thanks for the comment and for sharing the information, John. I wish I could visit Australia. I think it would be a very interesting country to explore.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 25, 2020:

A little change of pace from you, with a nice, personal touch, Linda. I liked it greatly.

I spent two years in Vermont, a state known for their sugar maples, and I have never seen such a spectacular display of color as I saw there. Forty years later I still see them clearly in my mind.

Have a brilliant week, my friend.

Liza from USA on September 25, 2020:

Oh, my favorite season is here! I am so excited to embrace the cooling weather and to take a walk to see the fall foliage. Is that your maple tree, and it's already changing colors? That's so awesome! I wish I have a maple tree. This weekend, I'm planning to go seeing the trees up in the mountain. The poem is beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Happy Autumn :)

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on September 25, 2020:

Fall is my favorite time of the year with the many, many colors skipping across the trees. Great article and I love the poem. Okay, now, they're starting to fall so I'll get ready to rake!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 25, 2020:

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love what you wrote and I love your poem. It honors the season, Linda.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on September 25, 2020:

The maples have a special place in my heart. It's so nice that its leaf is part of your country's flag. Loved your poem.

Lorna Lamon on September 25, 2020:

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons, and I enjoy those wonderful walks through the forest where the trees are at their most beautiful. Your poem conjured up memories of these times Linda, and I particularly enjoyed the last verse which connects us to nature. Beautifully written.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 25, 2020:

Hi Linda Autumn is another season that we should appreciate and from your great expressions I see the lovely colored leaves. We have an oak tree and the leaves are drier and the colors are similar.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2020:

Beautiful poem, lovely descriptions and pictures, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. Twilight is explained beautifully, with the text and poem.

I love the pictures of the maple tree leaves, the changing of the colours.

Excellent and informative article. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 24, 2020:

The overall article was very interesting, and although we have very few in Australia, maple trees are among the most beautiful. The liquidamber is probably a more common substitute here. The poem was enjoyable, very expressive and well-written.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2020:

Thank you for such an interesting and lovely comment, Megha. I appreciate your visit.

Megha Ginnare from BHOPAL on September 24, 2020:

I haven't witnessed these colours of maple by my eyes but I can literally feel each and every word you wrote here. The poem was touching. Thanks for writing this article that made me see and feel something I haven't personally seen with my own eyes.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2020:

I think it's a pleasure to see the lovely leaves of autumn, too. I appreciate your comment very much, Ankita.

Ankita B on September 24, 2020:

Its always a pleasure to witness the beautiful colourful leaves during autumn. I loved your poem too. Wonderful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2020:

Thanks, Linda. I love the colors of autumn leaves, too.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on September 24, 2020:

I love the colors fall seasonal leaves. The red, yellow, orange and gold. I also enjoyed your autumn poem!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2020:

Hi, Bill. I appreciate your comment about the poem very much. Spring is my favorite time of year, but I enjoy September and October as well. By November, it's often damp and dreary here, which I don't like as much. There are still some interesting things to see in nature at that time of year, though.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on September 24, 2020:

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. The colorful transformation of the leaves combined with the cooler weather really appeals to me. I just noticed today that a few trees in our neighborhood have some color to them so it won’t be long. Wonderful poem, you should write poetry more often, Linda.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2020:

Hi, Eric. Thanks for the visit. I've never lived in an area with a short autumn. It would be a new experience for me.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 24, 2020:

Our Autumn starts late, is short and mild. It is nice to read and recall. Thank you.