I won’t even try to explain the change that takes place here in Michigan in the fall. There is a quickening of sorts that kind of hustles us along because we know for sure what is coming next. It’s this “end of the season” urge that gets us moving in these parts. The hoses have to be taken down and drained and rolled, the storm windows have to be properly set, gutters need cleaning, AC units need shutting down and covering up, and of course there are plenty of leaves to rake. So much to do and all of it telling us that winter is moving our way. Where I lived in the islands for a few years we used to joke that you knew that winter was coming because the locals began to wear socks. We are not that lucky.
Still, it simply has to be my favorite season. Gone are the muggy days of summer, replaced by additional blankets on the bed and the first start of the heating unit. The air gets kind of “clean.” Fall or winter skies are noted with the freshness of the breezes and the whole outdoors gets that “orangey” sniff to it. Jackets and flannel shirts feel good again and one’s mind begins to think about an afternoon spent making soups or baking bread.
There is nothing quite like a fall walk amid the trees festooned with their gorgeous colors. Even Pappy the dog knows the difference in season and is more eager than ever for a walk or game of fetch in the yard. An afternoon spent bird hunting in the changing cover is an annual treat to be savored for as long as we can make the season last. Geese float past overhead in wedges and beg for me to come up and fly with them. I am envious. They get to see all the beautiful colors of fall float away beneath them knowing that they will soon be snug and safe in warmer climates.
Typically this time of year I seek to find at least one decent flying day when I can get the airplane into that thick cool, clear air and gaze upon the beauty of the “mitten state” from aloft. Flying has always been relaxing for me; but to soar along with an unending view of the change of season as it is happening is truly awesome. The days I need for these fall flights are sometimes hard to come by. Fall weather here can mean low and gray and drizzly for days at a time. So when the day promises to be perfect for fall touring, I’m afraid the hose and the gutters and all the rest will have to wait. What is it they say, “Seize the day?”
I rose early one morning recently to do just that. The wind was down, the sky mostly clear, the air was cool and smooth, and I was more than happy to join the geese for a fall flight. Flying north to the big lakes, I found just what I was looking for and have saved it for you here. Come on along and be my co-pilot . . . . We’re going to have a great time!
Author: Tom Speerstra
Tom Speerstra has had an enduring love affair with aviation for over 40 years. Countless adventures have been enjoyed flying students, people, paper, and parcels in everything from Champs to Citations. He has held positions as both Chief Pilot and Director of Operations for Part 135 carriers and holds an ATP, MEII, SES ratings and a Citation type rating. Tom makes his home in Michigan with his wife Elizabeth and the two dogs Hess and Pappy.