Michigan falls are anything but green. In fact, they are everything but green. The calendar claims that fall begins on September 22 every year, but I understand fall to emerge much more subtly.
It happens leisurely amid the modest days of September and October -- the consummate transformation of Michigan's 19 million acres of verdant woods into giant conflagrations of sepia, vermillion, raw umber, burnt sienna, crimson and cadmium orange. These blurs of color poignantly align the contours of rivers, highways, backyards, sidewalks and coastlines. It is breathtaking; the crisp breeze that passes between the trees is both tonic and salutary.
I am convinced that Albert Camus must have been ruminating on the bridge overlooking the Huron River just off M-14 coming into Ann Arbor when he said, "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." He was either there, or somewhere else in Michigan
As I walk to class each day and sense the simultaneous changes before me, I am inclined into introspection. In this sublime season, I recognize the palpability of green living. While I will not downplay the importance of developing better habits -- using public transportation more, purchasing plastic water bottles less -- I question if green conventions are merely fads in the absence of deeper instinct. Why is it important to live green? The crudeness of fall reminds me that nature existed many seasons before me and will continue to exist long after me -- yet I feel that I have agency. The nature that I want my future children to experience is before me now, this Michigan fall.
Photo: Home Invasion Tour/Flickr