Photo and Commentary ©2020 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, November 20, 2020
For me autumn is the time to study leaves. If I were a tree-watcher, as Robert Howson is a bird-watcher (except he’s such a pro that he’s in the loftier “birder” camp), I would no doubt study trees all year round—noting their first buds, delighting in their shy spring colors, “forest-bathing” my soul in their lush, mature green, and so on.
But alas, I am not a die-hard afficionado, which means that a tree which wants to get my attention needs to fling its leaves across the trail Shelley and I walk. That’s when I become amazed.
In the photo above you see three kinds of leaves. The middle one, of course, is maple, proudly summoned into service as the symbol on the Canadian flag. Since our trail was lavishly slathered by these leaves, mostly in the giant economy size, I found myself staring at them as I walked along.
A quick search on Google Images revealed to me the names of the parts of the leaf. Five “primary veins” radiate out from the same point on the stem, while “secondary veins” flow from the primaries. There are always five primaries, no more, no less (except if the leaf gets really huge, I noticed another couple of primaries radiating below the others, one on each side. But six and seven were always tiny and tentative, even on the largest leaves.)
The leaf on the right I do not recognize, but there were several on the trail. Notice that there is just one primary vein coming out from the stem, and several secondaries radiating from the primary all the way to the point.
And then there’s the dapper little gingko leaf on the left. As far as I can tell, there are only two gingko trees in our neighborhood, but I’m continuing to keep my eye out. When I was a kid on the South Dakota prairies, I would read about gingkos in books, and they always seemed exotic, something you’d have to travel to another country to see.
Notice how different the gingko design is? While the other leaves have clearly-visible primary and secondary veins, the gingko’s are either small and numerous, or they’re just not there, I’m not sure which.
If I pause on that trail for a moment, and just look down at those leaves, my heart almost stops in amazement. Each of these trees knows exactly how to grow these leaves, and grow them in the same way each time, “after their kind,” as Genesis puts it.
Want to brush up on some of what the Bible says about creation and the Creator? Click the link just below: