Say October and my head fills with pictures of apples, pumpkins, and, of course, pumpkin pies, beer fests, Halloween trick-or-treating, chilling temps, and falling, swirling leaves.

First, though, colorful changes, and the show that is about to begin…

Well, sort of.

As USA Today’s Janet Loehrke’s “2022 Fall Foliage Map: How Drought Conditions Could Create Lackluster Colors,” explains, “Much of the country has been or continues to remain parched, with the drought expected to stick around…” and all that “dry, hot weather can cause leaves to turn brown and wither before they can reach peak color.”

And also force many trees to self-protect and drop their leaves weeks mid-summer.

Blame stress.

Yup! Just like us, trees stress out.

To ward off anxiety, sleeplessness, and upset, many experts tell us slow down, breathe deeply, and meditate; they also suggest that we declutter. Tossing unneeded “stuff” and getting organized quiets the mind, calms the nerves, and fosters a sense of control.

n their way, stressed out trees declutter, too.

It’s all about survival.

Leaves are “hungry” things. Letting go of some lessens a tree’s need for water.

Then , writes Loehrke, “When fall arrives and the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, the chlorophyll in a leaf breaks down, and that causes it to lose its green color. The green gives way to the yellows, reds, and oranges that make for dramatic autumn displays.”

Even now, despite this summer’s widespread hot, dry conditions, you might just be lucky enough to see:

  • Yellow Poplars = golden yellow leaves
  • Black Maples = yellow leaves
  • Red Maples = scarlet leaves
  • Sugar maples = orange-red leaves
  • Oaks = red to brown leaves
  • Dogwoods =purplish red

And though their colors might be muted this time around, there is something to be said about being out among trees, regardless.

So, grab a jacket and your kids and head outside to keep company with trees. And, even if their colors disappoint this time around, no matter. As Story People’s Kai Skye put it:

“I do not go to the forest to be alone, she said. I go to be with the ones who speak without words.”

Even one tree will do…

~ With my thanks and good fall wishes, Carol