/Thoughts about autumn

Thoughts about autumn

By Jim Poling Sr.
I believe, are smarter than humans. They are more grounded, obviously,
but they also have an advanced sense of life, a more mature
understanding of what it is all about.
Humans see life as individual
time frames with beginnings and ends. Trees see life as infinite –
forever possible through change and renewal. 
autumn tiptoes across our landscapes, and trees shed their summer
clothing, we humans feel a sense of sadness. The sun weakens, shadows
lengthen, vegetation begins to die. We have a feeling of good things
having ended. 
with its sun, fun and freedoms, has gone and left us sadly anticipating
the bleakness of winter, which can be restrictive, confining and at
times downright cruel. It is a time of change and change is something
that most of us dislike and struggle against.
Trees, however, see
autumn more positively. Autumn is an interregnum, a pause allowing time
to prepare for changes needed for the continuation of life. Trees have
an important role in the preparations.
are diligent gardeners tending their close-at-hand plots with varying
methods of cultivating and seeding. Muscular oaks hurl down acorns
containing precious embryos for new life, while the gloriously-crowned
maples helicopter their seed pods to the surrounding soil.
delivered, trees then float millions of dying leaves to the ground
where they decay and create rich nutrients that soil needs for growth.
is no immediate or apparent result from the trees’ autumn work. Many
months must pass before the first indications of new life will appear.
unlike we antsy humans, trees are patient and long suffering. They
stand naked in the freezing winter winds, firm in their faith that the
natural forces guiding all earth events will bring back longer hours of
sun and warmth. 
not that humans don’t enjoy and appreciate autumn. The cool air it
brings to replace oppressive heat and humidity is much welcome. So are
the autumn days and evenings without stinging bugs and flies. Outside
activities are fewer perhaps, but fewer active people around also means
more serenity.
our appreciation of autumn is not deep enough. It is too self-centred.
It lacks an understanding of the season’s important connection to other
seasons and the continuation of life through millennia, not just years.  
demonstrate that understanding each September. We would do well to try
to build a better understanding of autumn every time the trees begin to
drop their seeds and shed their brilliant leaves.
It is not outrageous to say that trees can provide us with some wisdom and better understanding.
each year there are fewer trees to look to for their wisdom. The most
recent assessments show that the world’s forest area decreased from 31.6
per cent of global land area to 30.6 per cent during the 25-year period
1990 to 2015. It is estimated that trees once covered 50 per cent of
earth’s land mass.
pace of loss has been slowing in recent years thanks to increased
awareness of trees and their importance to all life. That’s really great
not-so-good news is that much forest reduction is the result of
clearing land to house and feed a growing human population. The current
world population is roughly 7.6 billion and is expected to swell to 10
billion people in the next 30 years.
estimate that population growth by 2050 will force the global demand
for food to grow by 50 per cent. More mouths to feed means more land for
planting, which means more trees have to be cut.
are other concerns, notably fires, especially in the Amazon which is
home to the world’s largest and most important tropical forest. Then
there is climate change and how it might affect the land. And, of course
anti-conservation politicians who seem determined to wipe out the
conservation gains of recent decades, all in the name of progress.
looking at trees, especially in autumn, offers some understanding, and
hope for the future. Trees have been here helping to perpetuate life for
360 million years without negatively altering the planet.

in our modern form, have been here a mere 200,000 years, generally
wreaking havoc. The trees must know something that we don’t know.