Autumn’s Paradox


October 10, 2020. Such beauty. And, trepidation! Autumn is a time of paradox in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as the parade of colors announces the approach of winter.

Many people call autumn their favorite season here. Former residents yearn for it. Tourists flock to it. Hikers (including me) are giddy in it.

But autumn means that winter is whispering — and winter can last six months at 46 degrees N latitude. Snow often falls in October and sticks by November. It doesn’t fully melt until April.

Thus, the contradictions. As I revel in my first-ever autumn at Camp Many Moons, I also realize that my time in my waterside camper is closing. Daylight ends ever-earlier and night-time temperatures dip ever-lower, into the 30s now. The glorious views outside my window are briefer. The camper floor is colder. The night is darker.

I retreat often from my propane-heated live-in camper into my tiny wood-heated “studio” camper, because its little wood stove heats it up quickly. But as soon as the fire goes out, the heat goes out. And so do I, back to more predictable propane heat. Sometimes I feed the stove – but mostly, I let it go out.

It’s useful to know when to feed something and when to let it go.

And so my lessons from nature continue…

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