I love fall, its my favorite time of the year. Maybe because I grew up in one of the most beautiful parts of Michigan when it’s fall. The picture I’ve included is a great example. The suspended bridge that swayed a little when crossed, the copper color of the water before it blended with the coldness of lake superior, the forest of trees that turn so many varieties of colors that they would never fit in just one box of 64 crayons. Of course who can forget the late night beach fires just around the bend from this bridge burning driftwood that washed up on the lake superior shore and drinking alcohol stolen from our parents.
Living in lower Michigan in the fall is not the same as the U.P., but maybe thats ok. Sure, there are plenty of trees that turn, signaling fall, but it is handled differently down here. Fall in lower Michigan means football games, and tailgating. Picking a side, U of M, or MSU… but everyone always agrees to hate Ohio State. Tailgating is something of a ritual, everyone has their favorite spot to park and you must wear your favorite teams fan gear of course. Then their is the food, Chili, ribs, hot dogs and lots…. and I mean lots of beer… Lots of beer.
Fall in lower Michigan also means apple orchards, pumpkin patches and Octoberfest in Frankenmuth. If you are thinking, wait, isn’t Octoberfest more beer? Well yes, dont judge Karen. Beer, and wine too, are important in the fall in Michigan, even the zoo has beer nights. Walking around a zoo while drinking beer doesn’t sound that exciting, but dont knock it until you try it! As for the apple orchards and pumpkin patches, they are great for the kids, sure. That’s what we say anyway, “We are bringing the kids to the apple orchard”, but really heating up the apple cider and adding a little whiskey is one of the best ways to enjoy fall in Michigan, just dont give it to the kids you used as an excuse to get it. That would be wrong probably.
This time of the year people are also out and about riding bikes and raking leaves. Raking leaves and cleaning up your yard is a “thing” down here. It is announced like a right of passage to move forward into the cold winter. “I raked 10 bags of leaves yesterday!” “Really? Because I did 12 bags!”. My personal favorite, “Got to rake leaves so we can put the kids bikes away for the winter”…. wait, what? There is always that one house on the block that doesn’t ever, ever, rake their fallen leaves. Instead, they choose to simply let mother nature takes its course and hope for a good strong wind that will blow them into someone else’s yard… Ok, it me, we are that house. Sorry not sorry.
Maybe I will take a ride this afternoon to a scenic area with lots of leaves that are changing color to remind me about what it is like in the fall in the upper peninsula. Try to find a narrow road to drive down and watch the fallen leaves lift off the road a swirl around like the north wind is blowing them away to make room for snow. Or maybe I will call my sister in the U.P. and ask if there it has snowed there yet, and when she says “yes it has, but just a couple of inches.” I will laugh and think how great it is that the sun is shining as I sit on my porch with a beer, and think how nice it is the neighbors can still be outside raking leaves.