This week's wind has torn the leaves off the trees much too soon, but one result has been that the yard near the sugar maples is covered with yellow leaves that never got the chance to turn their signature orange. The path to the compost pile and (what would be, if the plants would decide to grow) the shrubbery and the fern grotto is a sea of the brightest color available on these gray days. Luckily for the neighbors, the weather has been cold and rainy enough to squelch my urge to dance around the yard singing "Walking on Sunshine" (of which I can only remember one line, anyway).
Photosynthesis has always been a mystery to me (apologies to the scientists among us). Back in Biology 101, I tried to wrap my mind around the chemical reactions but never quite got clear on how the process worked. It was always enough for me to know that leaves turn sunlight into food and oxygen, a miracle that allows most of the rest of life to exist. And yes, autumn color comes from the exhaustion of the leaves' chlorophyll supply, but every leaf that litters (?) the ground has spent its life consuming the sun's energy; it has been eating the sunlight. Before you rake up all your leaves, consider that you are indeed "walking on sunshine." And we get to do it every year.