We left Michigan when fall was just beginning. As we finished last minute packing and I got in the car Monday morning, I noticed a few red leaves had fallen from the Maple tree in our front yard and along our drive south there were trees that had bright yellows or reds on their top branches. The nights had become cold – it looked like frost on the very lowest areas of lawns.
We made sure to buy some fresh-picked apples at our local fruit stand before we left. We used to go to the orchard and pick a couple of bushels that I made into applesauce to eat during the long winter, make into pies, and the whole family ate for lunches and after-school snacks. This year I wanted some Northern Spy apples because they make the very best apple pies, but Ken said the trees didn’t produce many apples this year – so I bought a cross between Spy and Golden Delicious. I didn’t buy a bushel – only a half peck to take to Florida for a pie to share with friends and maybe an apple crisp. I also bought a bag of Honey Crisps for eating.
We had spent the previous week cutting back the flowers that had bloomed so prolifically all summer. We like to clean up the flower beds for our return in the Spring – when the perennials are starting to send up green shoots and I am chomping at the bit to buy some annuals. My criterion for whether perennials were cut back or annuals were pulled up were the strength of their blooming and whether the bees and butterflies were still visiting. I left some mums and marigolds to be cleaned up when we return north in November.
The most painful part, tears in my eyes painful part of leaving our northern home was pulling up my beloved Morning Glories. They were late in blooming this year so I only enjoyed about a week of the glorious blue blossoms. There were hundreds of buds that were growing plump, ready to bloom if a frost didn’t get them first. I kept asking JB to wait just a few more days – until there weren’t any more days. Sunday afternoon I cut the plant down in the front of the house, while JB pulled down the plant growing up the side of his shed out back.
I left my true home in Michigan – the place that is imprinted on every cell of my body. I know the small town, rural place by the smell of it’s freshly turned soil in Spring, the sight of changing colors in Fall, the feel of hot Summer sun and cold Great Lakes water, and the silence of a world covered with snow.
Three days later, I find myself in my winter home, where everything is different in sub-tropical Florida. This is the sixth year that we have wintered in Florida and coming this year feels like coming home – almost. We have decorated our home in a way that comforts and nurtures us. I am slowly learning how the plants that I once grew as houseplants, grow outdoors. And I look forward to getting back to the botanical gardens to take some new photos. This makes leaving my real home much easier.
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