Park City Utah in the fall is magical. A visit there was an eye opener and a lesson that relates to what I do for a living in the realm of wellness and fitness. As a desert native the changing of the seasons is not an act of nature that I have ever witnessed in its fullest state. There is something profound that takes place when one is able to look at a valley of aspen trees transforming their green palette of leaves into the vivid autumn colors of orange, red, gold and brown. The autumn colors painted on trees and countryside is truly breathtaking. It can also be a time for self reflection and a time to look at nature, its rhythms and what the orchestration of the environment in perfect synchronicity tells us about our own choices and transformations.
As days grow shorter, and nights grow longer and cooler, biochemical processes in an aspen leaf and many other deciduous trees begin to create transformation. The tree is an amazing grandeur of nature that pulls its nutrients from many sources just like us. The sunlight helps manufacture sugars through the chlorophyll in the leaf which allows for a green pigment. The soil houses organisms vital to the forest ecosystem and even fallen leaves become the food of the earth for the tree. The roots allow for the foundation of the tree, and the tree takes up water through its roots which transpires into the air through its leaves. The tree captures carbon from the air and gives off oxygen. Trees also absorb pollutants from the air, and filter those to make for a cleaner environment. When the tree prepares in fall to go into hibernation for winter, the veins in the leaves of the tree close off, preventing the sugars, chlorophyll and green color to spread. The trapped sugars that have no place to spread promote the production of other trace elements that react with the sun to produce a spectacular array of autumn colors. The tree goes through this magnificent cycle until the leaf of the tree is ready to fall and protect the tree at the soil. The trees of fall could not survive without this annual cycle of shedding and replenishment from the leaf. The many beautiful interrelationships that are so visible in looking at an autumn landscape leave us with a myriad of fascinating puzzles to solve and learn about ourselves.
What annual cycles do we pass through and where do we garner replenishment each and every day? Nature works off a perfect cycle of knowing what is right to do. Humans have many ways in which we do the same thing as trees such as intuitively wearing warmer clothes when winter comes, yet when certain elemental conditions exist do we listen and respond accordingly? We are very much like trees. We pull nutrients from the sun, everything we ingest, the steps we take to protect and treat our bodies. We feed ourselves psychologically by who we associate with, what we tell ourselves and the actions we take each day. There is a lot we can learn from the tree and it behooves us to take time in the fall before the changing of the season into a cooler climate to ponder on all these variables. As desert dwellers if we cannot watch the magnificence of fall trees (as the window to watch this in person is narrow), take some time to look at fall pictures, imagine the phenomenon of nature’s cycles and practice some personal introspection. Reflect on the cycles in your own life and the choices that are made each and every day that affect every health outcome.