The docks are coming out of the water.
Every day as I drive to the day job, I cruise along the western shore of a rather large lake with an active lake community. The people who live and play here take their responsibilities seriously. There have been years when they’ve put their docks out before the last snowfall, and others when there was ice on the water before all the docks were pulled in and stored away for winter. This is the time of year when the owners gradually start to call it quits on summer, and they pack away the lake toys, the boats, the docks, the sun-bleached Adirondack chairs. Each Monday, the lake feels slightly more desolate, as fewer and fewer wooden pathways stretch into its depths. Okay, yes, I’m being melodramatic, but that’s what it feels like.
It’s fall in Michigan. And I have a love/hate relationship with this season.
Although I hate giving up my cute summer skirts and sandals, I do love getting reacquainted with my sweaters and jeans and boots again. Oh how I love my boots. Undoubtedly I have too many pair but I just don’t care.
I love the pumpkins and apples and warm donuts and fresh apple cider—heated, with a healthy dose of spiced rum, please. I love the colors, driving through the country and admiring nature’s display. The decorations—aside from Christmas, there is no comparison to fall adornments. I grow corn every year in the hopes of enjoying a few delicious ears straight off the stalk, but I rarely manage to pluck it before the neighborhood deer find it. And yet I continue to grow it anyway because those stalks become natural fall decorations on my front porch.
Okay, I admit, I love the nip in the air, too. I love walking the dog without needing a shower immediately thereafter. And while you will never hear me complain about summer being too long, I admit it is nice to open the windows and enjoy the outdoors even when there isn’t a lake handy to take a dip in.
I love my flowerbeds in the fall. I have a few flowers that are absolutely in their glory in September: sedum, aster, turtleheads, perennial geraniums. My roses seem to like fall best of all, too. Even my Shasta daisies are more prolific right now than they have been all season.
The rest put on a show, too. The leaves on my peonies turn a lovely shade of burgundy. The lilies turn bright yellow. The flowering cherry and crabapple leaves will be red soon, the fern-like leaves on my locust tree, yellow. My flowering pear is a bit of a showoff and holds out until nearly everything else is spent, and then it is like a bright flame in my front yard. The strawberries, the hydrangea, even the hostas are almost more pretty at this time of year than all summer long. Oh, and let’s not forget those glorious burning bushes, named for the ridiculous bright red color they don at this time of year.
(PS – I tend to post pics on my Facebook page, if you wanna have a “like.”)
Yeah, fall is certainly beautiful. But it has it’s downside. The days get shorter—quickly, it seems. Already, it’s dark when I wake up, barely light when I leave for the day job each day.
That’s another aspect I hate. Fall is ‘busy season’ at my day job, and coupled with a far-too-long commute, last minute construction projects, and back to school traffic, I spend far too much time away from my family—and my writing. It’s mid-September and I’m already resentful, and I still at least another month before life becomes reasonable again.
This year I have new reasons to dislike fall. My son, who I lost this past spring, was born in October. I was doing all right, moving along the road toward management after such a horrible, tragic situation, when back-to-school hit—and all those Facebook memories, reminding me of how utterly adorable he was on each of his first days of school. Maybe it’s the reduced sunlight, the long hours spent in the car (seriously, I have a stupid long commute), or knowing he’ll never have another first day of school again; I don’t know, but it’s been extra hard these past couple weeks.
Besides the birthday, we also have Halloween, family gatherings at Thanksgiving, and Christmas to look forward to dreading. Those who have been through it say the first year is the hardest; experiencing all those “firsts” without your loved one in your life. I’m right smack in the middle of it, and so far, I hope they’re right. I hope it gets better.
So yeah, you can see where I might be a tad conflicted about fall. Now, I think it’s time for one of those delicious freshly pressed ciders—heavy on the rum, please.
Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, blogger, and occasional introspector. She also happens to have a book on sale right now, so if you’re interested in trying out a paranormal series about shifters and magic, give INTO THE LIGHT a try. Tami suspects you’ll like it.