My sweet little farm back home in Clarkston, MI is something I’ve been missing lately. My mother has always had a deep connection to nature, and we finally got our own slice of happiness on the farm during our recent move to the property. I’ve always viewed autumn as a vulnerable state of nature, as everything is in the process of its passing. Going to the woods during this time is a cleansing experience to reset for just a moment with nature. My mother and I always strap on our Tevas and Smartwool socks to brace for the crisp autumn morning air before venturing out with our dog, Junior—who of course gets his own sweater—to wander the woods together.
Officially, Sept. 22 is the autumnal equinox, but it’s only recently started feeling like fall. Brisk breezes flutter past, rustling the crunchy leaves that litter the ground. The outside world lights up with vibrant, warm colors as the trees begin to go dormant for the season, and the weather is nothing less than inviting. Bundled up in my favorite coats, I venture out to explore the beauty of the season, hoping to get a glimpse of the colors myself.
If I’m staying in, it’s the best time to light some candles, seclude myself in my favorite armchair beside the window to watch the rain and wind with a glass of spiced wine, a book—this time it’s “Memoirs of a Geisha”—and my cat, Smudge. Sometimes it’s more of a cinnamon tea and Frank Sinatra’s “One for my Baby and One More for the Road” kind of day, but I’m always trying to keep the warmth and extra cozy vibes.
While the weather indicates the change of the season, there are also special goods that become available. Apple cider comes from the fresh, ripe apples, and then those apples go with cheese and wine. In the mornings, you are more than welcome to stop for a pumpkin spice latte with a pumpkin loaf from Starbucks. Contrast Coffee has rolled out their fall menu of coffees and teas including a brown sugar latte and, my favorite, the apple chai-der. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, breweries such as Barrel+Beam have local, seasonal brews on tap such as the Spooky Kriek and a Late Harvest Riesling dessert wine. Even if you have no destination in mind, there are plenty of sights outside that make going out in the cold that much more worth it.
Marquette is chock full of hiking and biking trails. Everyone knows Sugarloaf, but my favorite is going to the top of Mt. Marquette through the Noquemanon Trail Network. The view overlooks the whole town, and the colors are on full display in the coming weeks. From the top of these peaks, and even on the journey up, there are plenty of opportunities to capture these sights to share with photography. Some of my favorite shots I have taken include these autumn scenes which are right in our backyard.
This weather and these welcoming activities remind me of my mother. My hikes don’t feel the same without her by my side. While I’m away at school, I’ve been suffering from a major case of homesickness that’s hitting especially hard this semester. The fall season is somewhat bittersweet this year. Because of that but I’m doing everything I can to keep my mother in my thoughts and I’m patiently waiting for the time to pass until I can see her again, when we can share these experiences together.
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