One: from an exhibit at Phipps Conservatory: ”A tree’s roots, branches and twigs can survive freezing temperatures, but most leaves are not so tough. “On a broadleaf tree, like a maple or a birch, the tender thin leaves are made up of cells filled with water. Sap will freeze in winter. “Any plant tissue unable to live through the winter must be sealed off and shed to ensure the tree’s survival. “As sunlight decreases in autumn, the veins that carry sap into and out of a leaf gradually close. “A layer of cells, called the separation layer forms at the base of the leaf stem. “When this layer is complete, the leaf is separated from the tissue that connects to the branch and it falls.” Two: from the Amidah in Congregation Bet Tikvah’s Siddur: “Blessed are You, Adonai, creating the universe in this eternal moment; spring, morning, planets are born, warmth returns to earth and streams thaw and trickle; grasses burst through rocks, tender springs bend in warm zephyrs. Seeds sprout, the newborn cries, civilizations have their genesis. “Blessed are You, Adonai, sustaining the universe in this eternal moment; summer, noon, celestial bodies course through your heavens, societies flourish, lush gardens thrive and mature; Your children grow, wounds heal. “Blessed are You, Adonai, dissolving the universe in this eternal moment; autumn-winter, evening, leaves fall and plants decay, twigs become brittle. Your children die and return to dust.”
Why Do Leaves Fall? Two Explanations.
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