Becky is enticing us to post square photos this month that relate in some way to “kind.” Thursday’s sunrise was showing bright in a clear blue sky so I decided to venture out on a photo mission to find some examples of fall. It has been the first time that I have ventured out on a photo taking excursion since the Naples Botanical Garden closed in February. I didn’t go out when we returned to Michigan in the spring, nor in the summer except when I took a few photos on outings with our travel trailer. Southern Michigan doesn’t get full color until late October but on the first of October there are kind-of hints of what is to come. For the past 10 years we have left for Florida before full color came.
We have been tidying up the garden getting it ready for the spring growth next April. It always feels like an act of faith, of hope for the future, when I cut back spent plants and pull up annuals with ideas of what I want to do next year. I convinced Jim that some of the fall flowers should be left for a little while longer – like the mums, asters (above), sedums, and zinnias. Cutting down blooming plants always feels very unkind to me – like cutting their life short.
Yesterday Jim pulled the giant marigolds by his shed. He was pushing them, roots down, into a large white cardboard container he uses to carry yard cuttings across the street. By the time he finished it looked like a 5 foot high bouquet in a white vase, bringing me some comic relief from the election stress. I thought the marigolds could have stayed in a few more days, but we all pick our battles and I know Jim wants to get his yard work done before the snow flies. Next week we will have several days of sun with temps in the high 60’s, perfect for finishing up my garden work. This year we won’t be going to Florida in the middle of October so we don’t feel the pressure of getting it done before we leave. And I will get to experience the full-on fall experience.
But for Thursday morning I had to be satisfied with mostly macro images of what are kind-of hints of what will be the full glory of fall color in the coming weeks. I headed for the wet-lands that are on Folks road and the Lime Lake County Park. This road is on the route I took to work for many, many years and every morning I turned the corner from Mathews to Folks road to breath-taking beauty. This morning was no different so I had to pull over.
It is an ordinary marsh, with marsh grass and other plants that like wet conditions covering all but where a small lake is. But there are always beautiful colors and movement and light at the marsh. And of course there is a lot of sky to see.
Thunder storms were predicted for early afternoon and I could see dark heavy clouds on the western horizon and directly above me there were hints of what was to come. I have lived here for all but two of my 76 years so I notice how clouds are different during different seasons. The clouds of fall are a combination of high, fluffy clouds of summer and and the heavy low dark clouds of winter. The dark heavy clouds to the west dropped hail on us as I was eating lunch when I returned home.
This square macro shows a hint of the color that will surround Lime Lake in the next few days or weeks. On this one relatively young maple tree there were red, yellow and green leaves. I kinda think this is a micro (or macro) of what we have here in my neighborhood during the first week of October.
I have lived in Michigan all my life so I have seen a lot of Autumn’s glory, wonderful childhood memories that now bring me smiles of joy. This would be a very long post if I listed them all, but my fondest are of raking leaves into piles for jumping into, using leaves to outline a home’s rooms with the goal of playing house only to find raking the leaves was the real fun. I remember how special the smell of burning leaves seemed on a cool October evening. And I remember the fun turning to drudgery of raking tons of leaves that fell from the six big maple trees in the yard of our previous home, dragging them across the road in tarps to dump in the woods for future mulch. What joy came from watching for the first branches of changing leaves, then finding whole trees that were blazing red or yellow or orange. Then the leaves would begin to fall and I would collect the most beautiful ones to press between wax paper. And then they dropped in mass, dancing in the wind and fluttering down around us as we walked to school, shuffling our feet in leaves so deep they came over our shoes and would make wonderful rustling sounds.
My most memorable experience in recent years of autumn was driving the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway in 2014 on our annual drive from Michigan to Florida. We began the drive at the northern end in West Virginia on a rainy, foggy morning. I didn’t mind the light rain because wet newly-fallen leaves give off a scent that is powerful and unique to Autumn. On a wet autumn morning a person can’t resist taking deep breaths.
They say the speed limit is 35 mph but there aren’t many stretches straight enough that we could go that fast. Every curve opened up beautiful colors and frequent stops allowed me to find the perfect tree.
We walked in woods, shuffling our feet in the fallen leaves just as we did when walking to school as small children.
We explored hidden treasures along the parkway, as if they were there for us alone, decorated by Autumn for our pleasure.
As we were beginning to wonder where we could eat our picnic lunch from the cooler packed with healthy food (the less-than-healthy food is in a box on the seat where we can reach it when a craving hits), we went around a curve to a break in the clouds. We were ready to enjoy autumn’s glory in some sunshine.
For the past 10 years we have missed most of autumn in Michigan because we leave the middle of October and the leaves are just beginning to turn. The one Maple tree we have in our yard usually hasn’t begun to turn and when we return the end of November the wind has carried most of the leaves away (awe darn!). I’m sure that people who live in southern Florida notice the change in seasons from summer to autumn but this change still eludes me. Its a subtle change that takes place over several weeks – not the big bang of a change that the northern states experience.
We still haven’t decided if we will be able to go to Florida for this coming winter, but right now I’m thinking we will stay in Michigan until after Christmas. That will eliminate flying back for the holidays and will hopefully be enough time for Florida to get the corona-virus spread under control. I’m looking forward to experiencing, for the first time once again, all the joys that autumn brings.
Here is the link to this challenge if you want to join us.
Taken at Pancake Bay Provincial Park on the Eastern shore of Lake Superior, about an hour north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. 09/11/18