I have always been fascinated with leaves. It probably started with a 10th grade project when I collected a notebook of leaves and attempted to identify them for a science class. My teacher seemed to appreciate my efforts. In college, I studied Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. I still remember certain poems from that collection, but the title itself speaks volumes. Many are still drawn to that work today.
After doing some quick research, I learned that the autumn leaves are colorful because during this season they stop producing their food or chlorophyll, which gives them the green color. As a result, the colors behind the green are revealed or unmasked and we see the oranges, yellows, reds and a host of other pigments and tints.
This particular autumn has been notably spectacular and many people have been tweeting out beautiful pictures of colorful trees in all of their glory. People who are not photographers have been moved to snap these pictures because we all know that things can change ‘in the twinkling of an eye.’
The other day, I tweeted a picture of a yellow tree that I took from my window. Today, it looks totally different. Many of the leaves are gone. The research also told me that the brown leaves are filled with waste or as we might say, they are on their last legs. They then become brittle and will soon be in a heap or pile.
This makes me think of the cover design of my novella called A Golden Leaf in Time Revised. I had my own visual in mind and gave it to the design team of the publisher. They stayed close to my idea but chose to take the leaves in an upward position. I originally had them going across. However, I was very pleased with the finished product.
The color of the leaves is quite significant because they represent the stages that Phoenix goes through in order to reach a higher state of existence. She starts off as the green leaf on the bottom of the branch. In fact, she is in what we call a pickle or a set of difficult circumstances.
Yet, she continually sheds wastes, baggage and worn-out conditions as she transforms. Her stages of growth are shown by the different colors of the leaves on the cover. She vows to ‘turn over a new leaf’ throughout the book and ultimately becomes that ‘golden leaf.’ She has become the best person that she can be at that point in her life.
Yes, colorful leaves can be very captivating and their richness in hue has caught the attention of many spectators this autumn season. For writers, leaves can signify a number of things like the pages of a book but in my case they represent the metamorphosis of my main character, Phoenix.
Lynn October 25, 2014