Autumn in Leelanau County has about as much charm as Antonio Banderas in an Armani suit…which is to say, plenty and how. The air is crisp as green apple, cider flows like rivers and grapevines heavy with labor, anticipate the ease of their burden. Driving along county roads you will notice pumpkins prime for picking. Look up and see deciduous forests revealing, over and over, the breadth of their majesty: orange and gold, umber and scarlet–rainbows reaching for the sky and explosions of color stretch towards the waning sun.
On a sunny day, hiking at Pyramid Point along the lake shore or at Woolsey Lake in the woods of Northport transports you from a hectic life to immediate serenity. The birds sing their last goodbyes to friends not suited for cold. The squirrels and rabbits rustle in the trees, scurrying to save up. Acorns are dripping from trees. Still, it’s just you and the animals, too busy to pay you mind. Nearer to the lake, maybe you hear the waves hitting the shore. Look up, a bald eagle!
There are gusty days, too, for what charisma lacks suspense? Lake Michigan is sleepy on some autumnal days, the waves lap at the shore, one after another, after another, pausing. Last week, however, the waves ravaged the shoreline and at Van’s Beach in Leland, there were three adventurers kite boarding and surfing amid of the fury. The entire scene reminded me of snorkeling in Hawaii, when I came upon a great manta ray, maybe 12 feet long, skimming the sea floor the same measure below me. A moment of great silence and awe. Back in Leland, the kites were dancing and twirling, silently, in the blustery air, swirling and twirling ballet dancers moving to a Beethoven symphony in a measured time invisible to the ear. Poor weather, I hear some say. Not poor at all. Grab a jacket and see the show.
All seasons are splendid in Leelanau, but autumn is particularly divine. Like your living room, after the guests leave, it is lush with space–room to breathe–with all the familiarity of a summer’s day wrapped in a woolly sweater, holding a mug of warm cider. Drink it up. Drink it up. Imbibe the flavors of fall in Northern Michigan until the sweet memory of abundance holds on your taste buds. Winter is coming, but for today, remember to feast.
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