Birds, caterpillars, cows, humans; all living organisms on this earth depend upon leaves. Without them we would not exist.

Facts about the plant leaves are really amazing. Whether a leaf is of the tiny Corsican mint, or a monstrous, spiny Gunnera, its job is to make food, oxygen and water through the process of photosynthesis. Leaves allow us to live. They beautify our yards, cities and parks. They offer shade during hot weather. They provide habitat for various microorganisms and insects. They prevent loss of soil moisture through evaporation. They nourish and protect the soil.

Raking leaves in the fall is a tiresome work for the gardeners growing gardens with the deciduous trees. Rakes, leaf blowers and gas powered leaf vacuums help manage fallen leaves in a rough, human way.

The drop of each leaf is a death and birth event. Death begins with the turning of colors. Birth begins when new buds swell and wait for spring. Each leaf dropped to the soil feeds the tree with its certain decay.

Owing to strong winds leaves fall rapidly from the trees. These get scattering in drifts after release. Beneath the curl of a brown, big-leaf maple rests a tiny, green Pacific tree frog, protected from afternoon sun and predators. Waiting. Waiting for an insect to pass, a feast to arrive.

On this “Thanksgiving Day” ,this autumn you should thank for leaves: their abundance, their beauty, their life-giving richness. All the food placed before us would not be possible without them.

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