Leaves Don’t “Turn” Colors

I love this post (thank you Margaret Wheatley) from Omid Safi, Professor at Duke University. The entire post is here.

As one who studies change from a living systems perspective, this insight into “death that makes way for what is already there” is rather compelling.


“Leaves are usually green because of chlorophyll. It is chlorophyll that gives leaves their distinctive green color, and it is (along with sunshine) the key ingredient in the magical, life-producing process of photosynthesis.

The hidden secret of fall: the leaves don’t actually “turn” colors. With the winter season coming, and the process of photosynthesis being without the key ingredients of warmth and sunshine, trees begin to break down chlorophyll. With the “green” gone, the other colors that have been there all along — the magical reds, golds, and oranges — begin to express themselves.

That’s the secret: there is no turning, no changing. There’s only the death of what has been masking the colors inside. The beauty has been there all along. And we as human beings are like this. Each one of us contains hidden jewels inside.”

Photo Credit: Stanley Zimney License: Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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