By Cathy Johnson
Is there anything more beautiful than autumn in Michigan? Maybe it seems that way because that’s what I grew up with and have lived amongst all my life. It’s home. Yes, there are other stunning vistas in many places here in the United States and in other parts of the world as well. There’s just something about the colors of fall in Michigan.
Take the oranges. There are the maples whose leaves turn that wonderful shade of color exactly between red and yellow. And the pumpkins, both in the fields and decorating yards and porches everywhere you look. At the farmers market and the grocery store there are the baskets and piles of squash, ready to be turned into deliciousness for dinner on some lucky family’s table.
Then there are the yellows. Again, the maple trees oblige with a display that sometimes in the morning sun rivals the brilliance of that orb in the sky. It can be almost blinding, although it is usually tempered by the colors of other trees nearby. The cornstalks in the fields and those used in corn shocks for yard and home décor are colorful in their own muted way. The squash family obliges again with the intriguing spaghetti squash, which is a sunny shade of yellow as well. Those juicy Golden Delicious apples have their own unique shade to add to the color palette.
And the reds, ah the reds. The beautiful shade of burgundy red that is exclusive to that aptly named Red Maple, as well as the maple trees that turn their leaves more of a true red. The aptly named “burning bush” that almost seems on fire with its brilliant shade of red leaves. The apples, oh yes, the apples are so many shades of red that even the paint store probably can’t come up with names for all of them.
Mother Nature provides two other colors which make these three stand out so well in autumn: blue and green. The blue of the sky on those first frosty mornings of fall contrasts so intensely with the changing leaves of the trees. The sun seems to intensify all of the colors, so much so that one wants to take a picture to preserve that moment of beauty. But the picture never seems to capture all of the beautiful panorama that the human eye takes in.
Standing in contrast to all the orange, gold, yellow and red are the evergreens that proudly proclaim “Up North.” All year long their color varies only slightly; they are, after all, ever green. And being so provides a constancy that remains even on the coldest, darkest days of winter, a splash of color in the greyness of the shortest days of the year. The green promises that color will be back in spring; we just have to wait patiently for it.
Enjoy the colors of fall while they are here. Like everything else, they won’t last, for as Robert Frost said so famously, “nothing gold can stay.”