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Final Words

Leaves are the lifeline of a tree. They absorb sunlight and convert it into sugars to feed the tree. They also absorb carbon dioxide, release both oxygen and water vapor into the air, through a process called transpiration, which augments the coolness of the shade under the tree. In autumn the chlorophyll in the leaves begin to die and the leaves lose their green color and their ability to produce food and hence their usefulness for the tree ends and they drop to the ground. The tree goes dormant until the weather warms and new leaves emerge. However, the leaves that drop are far from finished. They continue the cycle of life by bringing all the nutrients the tree sent up to the leaves back down to the Earth where they will return those nutrients to the soil for the tree and other plants to use once again. We do not think that the dead fallen leaves have anything to offer anymore, but their final word keeps the Earth fertile and alive.


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