The Best Thing About Fall

By Mary Ellen Ellis | September 12, 2021
by Mary Ellen Ellis
September 12, 2021

Although I’m not a huge fan of winter and cold, I feel lucky to live somewhere with changing seasons. Fall is my favorite season after summer. It’s a time to see the culmination of a season of gardening, to enjoy relief from the heat, and best of all, to see a spectacular display of natural color. 

It Starts with the Walnut

I work in a home office at a desk that faces out to my side yard. There stands a youngish but regal walnut tree. All year, I enjoy watching the wildlife and the changing seasons through this tree. 

I always know when it’s time for the autumn colors to begin because this tree goes first. The small, pointed oval leaves turn yellow and drop slowly, one at a time it sometimes seems. They drift down throughout the day for weeks. This tree is often bare while others are still working on changing color. 

The walnut is first, but the most spectacular trees in my area are the sugar maples. They turn an array of bright yellow, red, and orange. The orange is my favorite. It’s a color that doesn’t seem should be natural. 

How to Enjoy Fall Color

I’m fortunate to be in an established, older suburban neighborhood. This means we have older trees and plenty of park space left undeveloped, unlike newer subdivisions where houses are crammed together and trees are just babies. 

I enjoy a good variety of fall color right in my yard and on neighborhood walks. The best way to enjoy the color, though, is to get up North, as we call it in Michigan. Much of northern Michigan is still heavily forested and perfect for enjoying the changing leaves. 

There are two good ways to see it all: a drive and a walk. A drive may seem counterintuitive, but several scenic drives in northern Michigan provide great opportunities to see more color in less time. Hikes are my favorite, though. A long walk in the woods at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, for instance, combines the fall color with the deep blue of Lake Michigan. 

Fortunately for me, fall color is everywhere here. Whether I make it on a road trip or not, I get to see the changing season in all its showiness, even if I’m just sitting in my office.

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