The seasons are turning fast now. The blue is growing deeper and the colors are falling off the landscape. We often miss the peak of the beauty, enjoying the magic of Lake Superior at the very time of year that the show back home is at it’s finest. Circumstances and all that.
Circumstances this year, though, prevented us from our usual date with the Gitchi Gummi. The shoulder replacement dashed all hopes of our annual return, and we settled in for a camp-free fall, weeping bitter tears. But after some many weeks of PT, the man was back in the game just enough that we decided to take a few days in the tent afterall. Even a few days at Gooseberry have to be better than none.
We nabbed a reservation. A few weeks later than normal; a few weeks deeper into fall, closer to the gales of November. Just to really test Superior’s goodwill.
And so I am here, still at home, reveling in the color and the indecisive winds. And so we were blessed to partake of the beauty of peak fall colors in NW Wisconsin, a treasure no one should really miss. I am glad to be here this year, to see the full swath of the change, from the first glimmers all the way through when the trees just give up and drop their final loads with a thwump.
Well, not the whole swath. We are past peak, but we are not yet naked in these parts. And tomorrow, God-willing and with the blessings of the master mechanic down the road (because something must always go wrong the day before any adventure is embarked upon), we’ll be heading out, lunging towards Lake Superior once again. We will probably miss the final undressing, but the exciting parts are past, the real show has already pulled the curtain. Or at least that is what I’ll be telling myself as I drive North in the morning. Don’t burst my bubble.
Reality check (sometimes it’s best to burst your own bubble):
We will leave our gardens of impossible scarlets and golds, and return next week to a carpet of green fully blanketed in umber, to fully-armed slumbering oaks standing sentinel over an exposed community of nude maples and aspens, stark-naked birches and ashes. Only browns and grays and the lasting blackish-greens of the pine knob will remain. And I imagine the elm tree outside our bedroom window will struggle against his better faculties and hang on until the very last minute; he may still be fully clothed to greet us. As I write, he is the lone verdant island against the bright autumnal pallette that is our yard. He’ll hang in there a while, desperate to outlast the lawnscape underfoot and overroot.
But for the most part, it will be a startling return.
And we’ll be home. Ready to stock the wood rack, run the new mower across the lawn for the first (and last) time of the year, and hunker down for the long winter. And it will all be good, because we walked wide-eyed through peak and we got our days on the shores of the Big Lake. We had our cake and we ate it too. Not too shabby.
If you need me, ring up Gooseberry, Ottinger Site #23,