A Leafy Opportunity

When I’m not out walking amongst Nature, I’m buried in books. This week my main focus of study is tree phenology.

Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation).”

As winter becomes spring, I’ve had the chance to observe our local woodland transition, from bare canopies to expanding foliage. Learning about conditions affecting phenology has given me much insight about how trees react to different environmental factors like frost, light and humidity, just to name a few. It’s interesting to see how woody plants (trees) move from a stage of dormancy in wintertime, to budburst at the beginning of spring, to the maturing of foliage in summer and the halting of new leaf growth, and to the end of growth to senescense in autumn which brings it full circle, back to dormancy, again.

Walking into the woods this week showed me how much the canopy has grown since my second last visit (I visited briefly in between). Here are two photos taken three weeks apart, so do click on them to have a closer look.

I have to marvel at how change is so amazing, especially when Nature takes the reins. It’s humbling to know that with all the change that’s happening in our human lives, trees just carry on steadfastly in the background doing what they do best. What I wouldn’t give for Nature to take centre-stage on this planet and have us humans revolve around her instead!

Trees take a very simple overall yet complex internal approach to growth. They react accordingly to their surrounding conditions, and put out the best solution possible to ensure they live their lives to the fullest. You can say they are adaptable (as they are, albeit at a slower rate than us), but more importantly like all of Nature, trees are opportunists too. In the instance when winter breaks into spring, trees maximise the intention and energy that they’ve been keeping within to break their thousand shoots into masses of leafy growth. With the help of sunshine, a bit of rain and other optimal conditions, trees expand their foliage, stretch that much taller and widen their trunks a bit more. I believe we would spot the opportunity to do the same ourselves, given the ideal conditions.

As I observe my beloved trees and learn about these amazing beings, I’m expanding my knowledge and understanding of them every minute and every second.

With the right conditions, I know I’ll do just fine.

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