The zenith of fall’s colors lasts only a few days, and for some reason or another, I think I’ve missed it every year I’ve been here in Arkansas. But this year’s peak fell on a weekend with beautiful weather and plenty of time for a hike — this weekend. I took advantage at the old standby, the Ozark National Forest around Devil’s Den State Park.
What continually amazes me about the annual color explosion is that plants have a lot of the pigments that make it happen year-round, part of a chromatic net to catch as much sunlight as possible. They’re just overwhelmed by the familiar green of chlorophyll. Plants usually have to keep remaking the stuff and stop doing so around this time of year. So the oranges and yellows of carotenoids burst forth, sometimes in a way that looks almost pointillist, as with the oak leaf above. The same class of compounds gives carrots their color. The red is my favorite, though, and comes from a combo of sunlight and sugar.
If you want to see it all, hurry. And thanks for looking.
Good news, everyone: My brain finally, at long last, is done. All the power lines are insulated and all the relays are built. What a relief.
I don’t actually know when my brain finished developing – they just say the brain keeps going until around age 25, a line I cross this month. The Big 2-5; a quarter-century; 10 years since the beginning of high school (weird); more or less the same age as my parents when I was born (also weird). The brain’s completion of its development sounds final and resolute, but we know it isn’t – the brain’s flexible enough to change and adapt for all of our lives.
Good thing, because life is full of change. My job’s changing from the county beat to the faster-paced, higher-stakes Fayetteville city beat. I’ve been reading a couple pieces of journalism (like this one and this one) that have me jazzed up about being a journalist and telling stories. Where I live and what I do have changed drastically in just a fraction of a lifetime, something I imagine is true for a lot of people. We all let go of old fears and go to new places. It’s good.
Reflecting on this kind of thing just seems appropriate as the world around us begins hibernating and the planet takes another slow breath.
I hope things are changing well for you. Thanks for looking.