Just Because?

UP near Twin Lakes 481Yesterday I arrived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I was welcomed with a riot of color.  This is my first trip to the U.P.  Friends had told me that the fall colors here rival anything else in the United States.  They were right.  As you can see from the picture above, the foliage here is awesome!

I have indicated before that I love autumn and that it is mostly because of the incredible display put on by the hardwood trees.  A number of years ago, while doing some research on my first book, I discovered that although scientists know how the leaves change each fall, they cannot explain why.  The “how” is pretty simple.  Each fall as the days grow shorter, the nights cooler and the summer rains diminish, there is a dramatic reduction in the production of chlorophyll.  This allows the pigments that were there all along to show their true colors.

The “why” is the tricky part.  In nature colors are typically there for a purpose.  For example, bright colors in a bird will help attract a mate. The colors of flowers, likewise, draw in pollinators.  The beautiful colors of fall, however, don’t appear to serve a purpose.  They’re just beautiful.

Someone might reply to the question, “why do leaves turn beautiful colors in fall?” with the answer, “Just because.”  I don’t buy that.  I’m convinced that the beauty of fall is simply God’s gift to us.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”    Autumn is the time God makes the leaves extra beautiful (they’re still beautiful in spring and summer).  So my answer to the question, “why do leaves turn beautiful colors in fall?” is “just because—just because God loves us.”  The colors of autumn are a gift of His grace, and a wonderful gift at that!