Get out while you can

We are now about five weeks into the fall season. Fall is my favorite of the four seasons. It is not because of all of the hunting opportunities that are available for me. It is because of the sheer beauty of the season.

Yes, the spring season is a beautiful time of the year, as well with all of the new growth appearing and the freshness of the air. The fall season is my favorite because of the multitude of colors that the different trees and plants display. I also love the crisp, clear nights with the constellations shining brightly.

Late Saturday night, my wife and I arrived home after a little road trip to visit the new granddaughter. I went out to feed cattle. There was no wind blowing. It was very still and quiet. The sky was completely lit up with a whole gallery of stars. I walked out behind the buildings to escape the glow of the mercury vapor lights.

As I breathed in the cool, clean air I glanced off to the east and spotted my favorite constellation just coming into view on the horizon. I got my constellation education back during my freshman year in high school courtesy of Earth Science teacher Monty Wyss. Ever since that time, I have enjoyed picking out the different constellations that frequent our area.

The constellation that I locked in on Saturday night was the constellation Orion, the Hunter. The fall season is when this constellation begins to appear in our night sky. By the time winter rolls around, Orion is visible from sundown to sunrise. It is a very large constellation and is a snap to spot. I am fortunate enough to live outside the city limits, so constellation viewing during the fall nights is easy and enjoyable.

At the crack of dawn Sunday morning, the sky was still crystal clear as the sun began to creep up over the eastern horizon. The sun was fiery red, and as the rays from the rising sun caught the maple trees in the yard they looked as if they were on fire. I love the color red in the leaves during the fall season. Some years, the leaves are more red than others. This year seems to be shaping up well so far.

I was reading on the website EarthSky.org and read that if the trees are going to have vibrant red leaves there needs to be cold air and bright light. Fall is the time of the year when we get those cold, clear nights. The cold air helps break down the chlorophyll – the green pigment in leaves – leaving the red pigment in place.

During the summer, the warmer temperatures help produce the green chlorophyll as does the moisture received. As the fall season progresses, the leaves lay down a base at the stem to keep the sugars in the leaves from getting to the tree. These left behind sugars then produce anthocyanin, which is the red pigment we see in the fall colors. The bright sunlight helps produce this anthocyanin.

So if we would have a wet fall, we would end up with drab looking leaves. With the weather we have been having so far this fall, we should have some really gorgeous looking tree leaves. Sabetha has been blessed with some beautiful trees in town.

Get out there in the next few weeks, and take some walks around town. It is one of the greatest times of the year to enjoy the beauty that our trees produce. Cold, clear nights let you gaze at the stars and also produce the vibrant colors of the fall season. Embrace this time of year and soak it all in!

Tim Kellenberger137 Posts

Tim Kellenberger serves as Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for The Sabetha Herald since 2004. He specializes in sports reporting and column writing, as well as sports photography. Tim is a Grace University graduate with a dual degree in agricultural economics and human resource management. He lives in rural Sabetha with his wife and has four grown children and two grandchildren.

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