It was one of those beautiful autumn weekends on Corey Lake in Michigan. One of those where the weather still reminded you of summer, but would kick you with a brisk breeze to remind of you of what was in store down the road. All of the summer-folk had returned to Indiana and Illinois for the winter, not even realizing that the most divine time of year was currently marinating the countryside while only a few lucky souls were fortunate enough to take it all in.
I was privileged enough to be up there for one of those fall weekends, by myself, and was able to take the perfect bike ride around the lake that allowed me to soak up the autumn ambiance.
Normally a bike ride around the lake is enjoyable, but not exactly solitary. You’ll run into pickup trucks, a DNR officer, sometimes a stray dog here or there that you’ll have to out-peddle before they take a chomp out of your leg. In the summer, a bike ride around the lake is more a workout than it is an exercise to gain peace of mind. In the fall it is quite the opposite.
Before leaving for my outing, I walked down to the lakeside to contemplate jumping into the water to wake myself up. I stood at the edge of the dock, soap in hand, and decided the air was just crisp enough that I needed to break a sweat before truly needing to jump in. I left my bar of soap on the edge of the dock, and walked back to the house where my bike awaited.
Three Rivers, Michigan, where Corey Lake is located, is fairly hilly compared to where I ride my bike frequently back in Chicago. It’s nice to get all of the gears going for once, even though it’s a pretty short 7-mile ride. What you get out in the countryside besides the hills is the gorgeous scenery; showing every color of the rainbow from the blood-red leaves all the way down the ROYGBIV spectrum to the violet reflection of the clouds off of the lake’s surface. It’s serene.
For once I had the roads to myself. I was free to rubber-neck and observe all of my beautiful surroundings without the fear of a pickup truck running down the road, or a dog hounding after my tires and ankles. This worry-free tranquility is what it is supposed to be like up there. Above me were blue skies interspersed with red, yellow, and orange blankets of leaves undulating in the wind. On my left was dark blue and violet lake, being intersected by bright fluorescent trees like some sort of flip-book picture show.
I continued along the winding roads, seeping up every bit of imagery I could absorb. Not even realizing I had made it all the way around the lake, I arrived in my driveway covered in sweat. I hopped off my bike and without missing a beat I ran down to the beach.
I quickly stripped down to my boxers and hopped directly in the lake. When I emerged from my initial plunge, I turned to look at my dock and see a bar of Dr. Squatch Gold Moss Scrub looking at me from the edge of the dock invitingly. As I lathered up, I replayed my journey in my head. I caught wafts of oak moss, sea salt, and freshly ground cocoa from the soap. I felt the cool water splash against my sides as my feet stirred the sandy bottom. It was one of those perfect autumn moments at the lake, with virtually every sense on high alert consuming every stimuli that nature threw my way. One of those moments that if you don’t take the time out of your day to recognize your surroundings, it will just get swooped up in the rush of everything else passing you by.
Banner image: “Country Lane just off of Oakland Mills Road“, CC 2.0