The October Season 10/20/2013

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

Me too, L.M.  Me too!

When I was young and thought my days stretched before me for decades and decades, I seldom equated Nature’s seasons with the seasons of my own life.  As I’ve grown older though, I find myself doing just that, and doing it quite often.  My spring and summer seasons have passed – childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, becoming a mother, and raising children until they are out on their own – all of that is behind me now.  The Fall of my life – my October season – is upon me, and living out my Octobers on Mackinac Island these last few years is proving to be one of the most beautiful times of my life.

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On Mackinac Island, October is truly so magnificently beautiful it defies description.  Even with the chores of moving and packing up, Ted and I are finding time almost every day to get out and walk in the woods.  To not take these moments to inhale the crisp clean air and walk through these ageless forests would almost be sacrilege.

Gone two weeks ago were the days of finding a rust-colored leaf here and a gold leaf there.  Now they are all so brightly hued

The days of finding a rust-colored leaf here and a gold leaf there were gone two weeks ago. Now they are all so brightly hued it’s as though bits of sunlight have become gold coins that cling to every tree limb and twig. And then – at the perfect moment – they fall to carpet our path.

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Billions of those bits of sunlight – far above us – await a breeze strong enough to send them gently floating to the ground . . .

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. . . where the sun is absorbed from the leaves into the earth – to prepare it for next spring’s awakening.

The pavilion at Turtle Park will soon stand

The pavilion at Turtle Park stands lonely now, but during the winter island residents will gather here for Winter Festival, and children will use the hills to compete on their sleds.

Bear and Maddie love October too, but for them it's all about the smells!  Gone are the light aromas of sunshine - replaced by the rich, loamy smell of dying leaves and damp ground.

Bear and Maddie love Fall too, but for them it’s all about the smells! Gone are the light aromas of sunshine – replaced by the rich, loamy smell of dying leaves and damp ground.

We came out on the other side of Turtle Park at the cemeteries, where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

We came out on the other side of Turtle Park at the cemeteries . . .

where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

. . . where only the snows of winter make this place more beautiful than it is in the Fall.

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Sometime I wish I knew every name of every soldier and civilian who rests here in the Post Cemetery.

Sometime I wish I knew every name of every soldier and civilian who rests here in the Post Cemetery . . .

If I did, it would bring me such joy to write each family and enclose a photograph of the beautiful place where their ancestor rests.

. . . so I could do the research and send each family a photograph of the beautiful resting place of their ancestor.

October is Bear's favorite season too . . .

Bear loves that the weather is cool,  the leaves are fun to roll in, and there’s always some edible morsel to be sniffed out.  Much more fun than just finding it on the ground out in the open!

And for Miss Maddie - as always - it's all about the hunt!

And for Miss Maddie – as always – it’s all about the hunt!

An old hose reel sits among the trees.

An old hose reel – nestled between two trees.

This totem pole sits on one side of the Spirit Garden burial mound . . .

This totem pole sits on one side of the Spirit Garden burial mound in St. Anne;s cemetery . . .

. . . and on the other side is a

. . . and on the other side is a wooden carved turtle.  The totem pole was donated by the Indian Drum tobacco shop and has been lovingly refurbished over the summer by Donald “Duck” Andress.  He removed rotted wood and repainted sections of the pole depicting animals like a woodpecker, beaver and bald eagle.  The wooden turtle monument was created by Cecil Pavlat and carved by Chief Duck.  The Spirit Garden burial mound includes the remains of Native peoples from both Mackinac Island and Bois Blanc Island.  The remains from Mackinac Island were unearthed during an excavation on Main Street in 2011.

Like I said - October is Bear's favorite month to be in the woods.

Like I said – October is Bear’s favorite month to be in the woods.

Through a gate at St. Anne's Cemetery.

Through a gate at St. Anne’s Cemetery.

A carpet of crunchy leaves led us back to Turtle Park . . . .

A carpet of crunchy leaves led us back to Turtle Park . . . .

. . . which is surrounded by trees brushed by every October color on God's palette.

. . . which is surrounded by trees brushed by every October color on God’s palette.

The park turned into a playground when we ran into Annie and Diesel and their owners.

The park turned into a playground when we ran into Annie and Diesel and their owners.

We finally called a halt to the playtime and walked home, leaving behind another October memory from Mackinac.

We finally called a halt to the playtime and went our separate ways –  leaving behind another October memory from Mackinac.

A HAPPY SHOUT-OUT TO AUNT BETTY and UNCLE BILL

Mary Stanick and I were having coffee Friday morning at Lucky Bean when Jill and her cousins, Steve & Nancy (from Frankenmuth) walked by and saw us through the window.  Steve’s mom and dad are Jill’s Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill, and Aunt Betty is one of my most loyal readers!  So this one’s for you, Aunt Betty!!

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The summer clothes have been shipped home, and Ted and I don’t go out these days without our layers.  We have snow in the forecast Tuesday-Friday of this week, but it seems like we heard that quite a few times last year before we actually awoke to a snow-covered Mackinac . . .on the day we left for Georgia.

We're prepared though.  Let it snow!

We’re prepared though. Let it snow!

Y’all have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you back here in a few days.  God bless.

Setting the Date 10/7/2011

Lots of correct answers on the Mystery Spot this week, and they started coming in right after I posted last night.  The very first one though was Laurie Leanna from Greenfield, WI.  Please see end of this post for the answer!

We’ve set the date.  Sunday, October 30.  The taxi will be waiting, the luggage will be stuffed full, the condo will be closed, and we’ll be heading home to Georgia.

Until we set a day, the concept of leaving is always just a random time somewhere “out there”.  When someone asks, I say, “Oh, the end of October – the first week in November – we really don’t know yet.”  But once we write it in on the calendar hanging inside one of our kitchen cabinets, it becomes real, and my mindset changes completely.

Suddenly I’m in a whirl about getting out and photographing the island as often as possible.  I need to stockpile pictures so I will have extras to fall back on when I’m too busy getting ready to leave to go outside with my camera.

I had a “stockpile photographs” day today.  I called Jill and said, “Let’s bike through the woods and see what’s going on with the colors.”  Jill’s only day off is Thursday, and she is always game for an adventure when she’s off.  We stayed out for two hours and covered a lot of Island, but now I find myself not wanting to hold any of these back for another day.  So tonight, along with the Mystery Spot at the end, you are getting a lot of fall Island photographs.  We had a great time zipping back and forth into different areas, and I’ll post some of Jill’s shots later on.  But, for tonight, these are all mine.

We left the condo and rode a couple of blocks north, then turned on Fifth St. That ran us into Cupid's Pathway, and a few minutes later we turned on Carriage Road, which brought us out at St. Anne's Cemetery.

The cemetery area is always one of the most colorful on Mackinac during the fall. Still not at peak, there were, nevertheless, brilliant trees totally ablaze . . .

. . . while others showed that "spot color" so prevalent this fall.

Two crosses - one wooden against sun-kissed leaves . . .

, . . . and one stone - against leaves and blue sky.

The history of Mackinac Island lies within these stone walls.

Bikers, seeking fall colors just as we were, come through the trees.

The bright blue of the cannon in the Fort Cemetery adds yet another splash of color . . .

. . . to this beautiful setting where soldiers rest.

Our stop at Sugar Loaf didn't reveal much color at all.

After puffing up hills and flying down the other sides, we arrived at Arch Rock. If you're familiar with the Carriage Tours, you will notice that the usual three-horse hitch wagons are no longer running out to Arch Rock. The two-horse hitch is used for the entire tour, now that the Carriage Museum has closed for the season.

These two loved posing . . . I think they remembered me from the Carriage Museum as the "lady who always has horse treats in her pocket".

This late in the season you can get away with going places you wouldn't dare tread during the height of the summer. These next few photos were taken from in front of the VIP State Park housing on the west side of the fort.

What a view from the front porches!

These two homes are available for special State Park visitors.

We biked back to the condo through the woods and stopped to say hello to the Carriage Museum staff. They were busy closing the building for the season. Jill continued on up the hill to the Community Stable to meet Leanne and help with some chores.

It was just so gorgeous out that I went inside and got Maddie and Bear, and we walked down toward the corral. There we happened to see Ben and another Grand Hotel horseman out exercising one of the Grand's hackneys.

Denise and Judy race down the hill from the Carriage Museum to catch the 5 p.m. ferry. That little black head you see in Denise's basket is Scooter, her little dachshund she brought to work with her today.

Maddie - among the red sumac leaves near our yard.

Bear - waiting for us in the shade. As you can see, our flowers are still going strong, even with the cold mornings we've been having.

I hope you enjoyed this little fall preview.  There’s lots more to come in the next week of so.  Frankie and I are traveling through the Tunnel of Trees on Friday, an area on the way to Harbor Springs I’ve heard so much about from Michiganders and blog readers.  If it turns out to be as beautiful as all the stories I’ve heard, I’m sure you will get a post full of photographs from that drive next week.  AND – Somewhere in Time weekend at the Grand starts tomorrow!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.  God bless.

THE MYSTERY SPOT

The object of the Mystery Spot  is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing, AND I’ll post the full photo of the mystery spot at the bottom of the blog with the answer. Is there a prize for the winner – yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is . .

Where is it?

Don’t forget to email your answer to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.comPlease do not answer in the comment section.

MYSTERY SPOT ANSWER

The Indian medallion hangs on the side of the beautiful Iroquois Hotel.