Our children’s first fall

Autumn in Grand Marais

by Beth Poliquin

Both of our girls were born in southwest Arizona. In Yuma, fall looked just like the rest of the year. School started at the beginning of August because was too hot to be outside anyway. Relief from the heat really didn’t come until Thanksgiving. Sure we did fall-type things: a local pumpkin patch, hay maze and trick-or-treating at Halloween. But looking outside, you really couldn’t tell: the date palms and hibiscus bushes looked the same all year.

While I grew up enjoying the changing of the seasons, we somehow had traveled to see family on the East Coast every season except fall. My kids had never seen it.

Then last summer we moved to Grand Marais. Our yard was surrounded by poplars and birches, and we had one lonely maple you didn’t really notice until October. The girls were in awe of the leaves falling. It was a fun game to try to catch leaves as they fell so you could be the first human to ever touch that leaf. Our elder daughter would patiently stand next to the tree looking up and waiting. Our younger daughter, not known for her calm spirit, would shake the tree to make it rain leaves.

And the colors! Our nine-year-old’s voice gets all dreamy as she talks about the colors. The trail around Oberg Mountain is known for spectacular Superior fall color views. They also remember the mud, but my pictures show us in a forest turned yellow and orange. This loop trail in Lutsen is a great, kid-friendly way to spend an afternoon. This year I’m looking forward to discovering new favorite hikes.

I have fond memories of my own childhood autumns but it was so fun to see everything fresh last year through their eyes. I am a little sad that it took so long for our girls to see such beauty, but how cool is it that they can remember and appreciate their first fall?

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