Absolutely, hands down, Autumn embraces Minnesota like no other state in the U.S. Maybe because it’s the harbinger of absolutely, hands down, the most brutal winter in the U.S. The contrast is wondrous. When I was working on my master’s degree at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I met some pretty awesome Northerners in my cohort. Vicki was one of those. She and her husband Virgil own 25 acres of gorgeous land and their home on Deer Lake. The closest town is Grand Rapids. In the middle of their maple and birch tree forest, Virgil had his own sawmill like the one on the Waltons. He would split and saw birch trees and floor their home with them, which sits a few yards from the lake and their dock you see above. When I was up for a visit, Vickie and I went out in the boat for a big muskie hunt. We were nuts when we got together. Vicki is the one in the propeller hat. It didn’t make the boat go any faster. I sat in a lawn chair in the middle of the boat readying myself to take on the toothy BIGUNS that might be fool enough to bite my sucker minnow I had cast out against the wind. And the wind is all we caught. We had some giant laughs though and when we decided to head into the dock for dinner, I had no idea how wonderful that would be. Spaghetti and venison meatballs! I know we had a special desert but I just can’t bring it to the forefront of my memory tonight. I’ve NEVER seen such brilliant golds and reds in my life as I did that awesome Autumn at Vicki’s and Virgil’s on Deer Lake.