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.