Fall brings on a lot of different emotions for me. For one, it brings on a sense of community as Mackinac Island slowly starts to close down its stores, says farewell to the tourist season, and gets ready for another isolated winter. This, in turn, presents a great many opportunities for our little community to gather together, including the Poor Man’s Ball that occured last Wednesday. I was a little leary about buying a ticket, since last year I ended up winning fudge from a rival fudge shop… fortunately, that wasn’t the case. This year I lucked out and won a pizza from Island Slice Pizza! Good to use through next year, I knew that I’d be tucking that certificate away in hopes of enjoying a welcome-back party early next summer.
Another emotion I’ve been feeling is relief… knowing that, in a few moments, everything will be gone. The island’s downtown turns into a ghost town so quickly that I am always surprised when I notice it. All the businesses are packed up for the season, with their “See You Next Year” signs in the window. And I’m still here. Who will I miss? There are too many names to mention. But the only feeling occupying my mind at this very moment is relief from all of summer’s responsibilities, from the fast-paced atmosphere occupied by tourists, that once they are all gone I’m left with just simplicity… Solitude. Nature. Silence. I’ve heard plenty of times before that the silence in between music notes is just as important as the notes themselves… and it couldn’t be more true (northern lights photo by Aleece Balchik).