Lighting the Way to Fall

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My terrier trots ahead of me, sniffing the olfactory evidence of change in the wind. I’m left to observe the more obvious signs of transition: the resounding chorus of crickets and cicadas mingling with the distant tune of an ice-cream truck meandering the darkening neighborhood streets, proffering a taste of late summer with a sound of approaching autumn on the side.

It’s hard to part ways with the sunny season.

But this year’s postcards have been sent and received. And those lazy days we envisioned — an expectation heightened by nostalgia (and hype) — became more hectic than we would have liked as we tried to meet the dream of road trips, picnics, and a place in the sun.

Lovely as it is, summer is also unrelentingly bright and active — a perky cheerleader to its moodier cousin, autumn.

In these shortening days, we gravitate to other lights.

The beginning of the fall performance season finds us in theaters where, as the house lights go down, we heave a deep, relaxed sigh, and settle in to focus on the drama in the footlights.

In concert halls, vocalists and musicians continue the melody vacated by songbirds gone south.

Summer’s departure prompts us to generate our own light and landscape. And, unlike in summer, when the urge to do it all makes the days seem even more fleeting, participating in local culture and entertainment expands the pleasure.

Supporting culture generates more culture. When more tickets are sold, impresarios can afford to illuminate more marquees with more shows.

Want more productions in metro Detroit? Go more often. Want a creative scene? Buy art.
MOCAD director Luis Croquer describes Detroit’s current cultural context as a “seedbed.” But seeds need water. It’s time for the summer people to flock to theaters, museums, and galleries as they did our Great Lakes beaches. On the September “shore,” they can gaze at the beauty of a man-made horizon.

And they can arrive draped in styles that provide more mystery and less exposure. This season, our fashion playbill calls for an air of intrigue, which lends drama to our streets.

A recently restored Detroit landmark does the same. In Detroit’s Palmer Woods neighborhood, 400-plus windows of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home glow like a cruise ship come to call.

The house lights are on in a structure that two visionaries rescued from decades of darkness.

When lights dim, stars shine.

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