“It’s coming,” Michiganders say as they scrunch their face and chuckle. The end of July signifies the countdown to the end of summer here in Michigan. This one was short, too. We were wearing sweaters at the end of June. This morning I wore a light jacket to walk Ashok. It’s coming. You can bet your bottom dollar on it.
Fall happens to be my favorite season here, so it’s not all dread. And I have taken a liking to the short days and cozy nights of winter. But having the freedom to walk out my door without bundling up and showing some skin to the sunlight is a pleasure that has become rare indeed.
The tourist season in Saint Joseph lasts basically from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The weekend after Labor Day last year I was sitting out on my favorite beach bench with my coffee, and a cyclist rode by. “The tourists are gone!” he exclaimed happily. We have this beautiful place to ourselves from September to the end of May. Some days it’s not very enjoyable but for most days Saint Joseph is a fabulously quaint and deliciously friendly place to be.
Many of the shops will start closing up around October and almost all will be closed in January and February. A lot of my friends will head to Florida or New Orleans for warmer temps. A fair number of restaurants close for the winter, too. I’ve heard some locals complain that there is nothing to do here in the winter, but I’ve never found it lacking. I think winter hiking is the best, and my favorite haunts are still open with the exception of the Bit of Swiss Bakery. My waistline could actually could use a break from that anyway.
The seasonal nature of the place makes me happier. I appreciate things that aren’t around all the time. The weather and the town is always changing, and it encourages me to get out and enjoy it NOW. This week has been gorgeous with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s. Any time I think of sitting home and surfing the internet, I tell myself, “It’s coming.” That closing window forces me to get some sand between my toes. There will be time for internet surfing in January. Right now, it’s Prime Time in Southwest Michigan. I’d better get out and enjoy it. It’s Coming.