As much as I complain about the weather in Michigan—the horrendous heat and humidity in the summer and the feet of ice and snow in the winter—this time of year is truly something special.
(Sorry my pictures are small. You can click to enlarge.)
The colors are spectacular, and if you don’t live in an area that experiences the changing of the seasons, I sincerely mean it when I say I wish you were here to enjoy them.*
*Unless of course, you’re an emotional vampire or just plain annoying, in which case I would dive behind my couch ninja-like to hide when you rang my doorbell.
At any rate, we’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures the past week that have reached the 70s, and I’ve taken advantage of that by enjoying the incredible mum display at the botanical gardens, going on a hayride and mini-color tour and just generally taking the time to appreciate the fact that nature will constantly leave me humbled and at peace.
I don’t know where you are from, but I can tell you that Michigan—and my city specifically—has a lot to offer. We might not have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods within 300 miles or many celebrity sightings, and we only have one vegan restaurant and the aforementioned craptastically unpredictable weather—where was I going with this?
Ah yes, those issues aside, we do have things distinctly our own, things that make Michigan—and Grand Rapids, specifically—not only a great place to visit, but a great place to live.
The mayor and a panel of community leaders recently ran a contest—My Grand Rapids in Six Words (MyGR6) — inviting anyone “who has lived, worked or played here to share their sentiments about the city using only six words.”
They won’t announce the winners for a couple of weeks, but almost 8,000 people submitted entries, which says something about community pride. Mine was initially related to sports, but serves as a theme for the city as a whole:
Minor league city. Major league feel.
But if you’re into sports—as you know I am—right now is a great time to be a fan. The Tigers are in the American League Championship Series, the Lions are undefeated, the Wings have started their season 2-0—and the minor league baseball and hockey teams for those parent clubs are right here in Grand Rapids.
In other words, we see the stars before they’re stars.
If you’re into art and culture, we just wrapped up ArtPrize, the world’s largest art prize based solely on a public vote. Artists take over and cover the city and venues with their work, visitors come from around the world and conversations result about community, creativity and possibility.
Sports, culture, natural beauty—those are just a few of the things we have going on right now where I live. I’m not trying to sell you on the city—as I said, winters and availability for overpriced hippy food sucks—but rather share with you a little piece of fall where I come from.
And the changing of the seasons also serve as a reminder to me that no, I don’t have control of everything in my life, but sometimes the most beautiful things happen when I let go and simply enjoy whatever may be.
At least until the snow comes.
Then even I wish I wasn’t here.
But for now, I’ll simply wax poetic about the colors and hope that if you aren’t able to enjoy them where you are, you were at least able to enjoy a piece of fall from where I’m at—which unfortunately, is not Trader Joes, but you take what you can get.
And for now, we get major league beauty.
I’m glad that I’m here.
How would you describe your city in six words?