Michiganders in the Grand Traverse region foisted themselves out of bed Friday morning and into the first truly crisp air of the season.

Along with that dawn arrived the first freeze warning of the season from the National Weather Service, an important milestone for everyone who calls our region home.

To many, the cool, earthy smell of fall signals the beginning of one of the most enjoyable, yet shortest-lived, transitions on our calendars. That window between the first overnight freeze (usually in early October) and the first snowflakes (often before Halloween) is a special time.

The glut of tourist traffic moved south long ago. The days are warm. The nights are cool. And Mother Nature steps into the teeth of winter with one last blaze of glory.

There never are enough days of the good stuff — trips to the pumpkin patch, afternoon walks around the lakes, and leisurely drives on long, empty roads that cut through our region’s leafy light show.

No, for many of us, the best days between now and November will be spent tidying and buttoning for the winter we all know will arrive sooner than we expect. It’s an understandable reaction from those whose memories of winters past outshines the seasonal beauty unfolding before our eyes.

It’s important not to allow the duty to prepare to eclipse all the great things that happen during fall in northern Michigan. We all know winter will be long, and there will be plenty of time to worry about shoveling snow.

We encourage everyone to take a few moments to enjoy the season this weekend — pick apples, walk in the woods or just enjoy an evening sitting on the porch.

We know we will.

Recommended for you