Pumpkin Stand

Carnival squashes are seen at Garden Market Pumpkin Patch next to other varieties of gourds.

The summer days have ended, and in their stead march the days of fall. The sun rises a little bit later each day and sets a few minutes earlier in the same fashion. I really noticed this as I was getting out of the Journal this evening (Sept. 24) around 7 p.m. It sort of caught me off guard, but really, why should it? This happens every year, and if for some reason it didn’t I think we should all be a bit worried.

As a kid growing up in Sioux City I used to despise the seasons that didn’t start with an “S.” Spring and summer were times of new life and fun outdoor activities. Fall and winter meant long hours inside boring classrooms learning about subjects, some of which I had no appetite to learn.

After high school, I decided I had had enough of the four seasons, so I packed my bags and drove my gold Honda Civic to Los Angeles to “attend” California State University, Northridge. Although I wouldn’t be escaping the shortening days, I’d be getting the hell out of a place that was about to be dumped on by heavy snowstorms.

Life in Los Angeles didn’t go without the changing of seasons, but there weren’t four discernable seasons as there are in good old Sioux City. There was the uncomfortably hot summer with the sun scalding my skin as I walked through the streets of the San Fernando Valley, and there was the time of year where I was sure to be wearing long pants and a hoodie everywhere I went. Living there for the better part of a decade I seemingly forgot the magic of seasons changing.

Walking outside in Sioux City on days like today, I reflect on past seasons and look forward to what this one has to offer. The scent of wood smoke and leaves burning in barrels comes to mind, and that I look forward to. The leaves of many colors drifting off their life-sustaining branches after a season of providing energy for their respective trees…floating to the ground like brown, orange, yellow and red confetti at a party that has gone on too long for the guests to abide. The Earth being covered by these brittle ghosts of a season gone by and not yet forgotten.

It is the season of the harvest. Already we can see the fruits of the harvest, proudly displayed in grocery stores and in roadside stands. Apples, pumpkins and gourds a plenty abound in the fall. It is the time for cider pressing parties. It is the time for Oktoberfest beers to take over the shelves of the stores and the menus of local breweries. It is time for the “basics” to get their fill of pumpkin-spiced foods and drinks.

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Whereas I only saw death during this season as a child (the trees and plants, the migration of birds out of this area of the country), I now see a beautiful mixture of colors, scents and whimsy.

This festive season is full of activities to enjoy and rich foods to indulge upon while the brisk winds usher in an even cooler season to come.

Soon, the streets and houses will be filled with the ghouls, witches and goblins that come around every year for All Hallows Eve. Children racing to each lighted porch, trick-or-treating away a night of Pagan debauchery. Women wearing skimpy costumes, all trying to outdo each other in the spirit of the night. What was I thinking as a kid? This season is full of life!

As I remember the years and seasons that have come before this, I am happy that I can spend this season here in Sioux City. While the summer music festivals may have come and gone, they will come again, Earth willing.

That being said, I hope you all enjoy the fall of 2018, dear readers, and all it has to offer. Make the most of it, as we never know how many more falls we will be lucky enough to experience. Live every day to its fullest. Carpe diem.

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