Season switch inspires and motivates in many ways
By Paula O’Kray
We’re two weeks into September, and fall is finally here. Doesn’t it feel great? I absolutely adore this weather. The days are glorious and the evenings amazing. I just want to stay outside forever when it’s like this.
Just a few weeks ago it was hot and humid, and I don’t know about you, but I was pretty sick and tired of summer. Summer is nice, but I wilt in warm weather, so it’s not my favorite season. I spend most of the time avoiding direct sunlight and trying to find the breeze so I don’t overheat. I really wanted to open the windows at home those last few weeks of August but didn’t want to let all that humidity in the house.
I woke up at 4 a.m. Tuesday and threw open the bedroom window so I could enjoy the thundershower passing through. The lightning was flashing so fast, it looked like a strobe light. And the rain was falling hard and heavy, making the best sound as it crashed on the driveway below. After it passed, I went back to bed, but left the window wide open. Something about closed windows just makes me feel all hemmed in.
Summer activities were winding down at the end of August, but September is bursting with stuff to see and do. We’re halfway through the month now, and some of the things that you may have already enjoyed are the Riverfront Jazz Fest, the Portage County Fair, Pacelli Panacea, Celebrate Amherst River Fest, the Gus Macker Tourney and the Color Me United Run.
That last one I participated in last Saturday, sporting a tutu, fairy wings and a feather boa. Hey, nobody said I couldn’t, so I did, and I had a great time. You know what they say, dress like nobody’s looking … or something like that.
Coming up are some fun events, traditional ones like Art in the Park, Downtown Fall Fest, Pointoberfest and Dozynki Harvest Fest this Saturday, not to mention woodcarving and tractor shows to boot. The following weekend there’s the Hard Rocks Challenge at Standing Rocks Park, the Poky Pedal Maple Ride at Little Plover River Park and Trivia Unplugged at the Noel Hangar.
And then there are some brand new events, like Main Street Parks Friday, Sept. 16. Main Street Parks is an event in downtown Stevens Point that turns a handful of parking spots into public mini-parks where people can relax, socialize, read a book, play games, create art and more. The point being, to see an existing space in a new way that invites people to slow down and interact with each other, kind of a “take-back-the-street” celebration.
The Gazette was ahead of the curve by demonstrating a sample “parklet” during Discover Downtown in July the past two summers. It’s a growing trend across the nation that communities seem to be embracing, so we wanted to get in on the fun. Why not come down and see what they’re all about? Personally, I think they’re pretty cool.
It’s hard to keep up and keep track of everything there is to do, but the Gazette does a great job of listing them each week in What’s Happening, and you can always check the Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website if you prefer.
Due to the cooler weather my dog walks have been getting longer, and it’s really annoying my dog. In fact the other day I treated her to a rare weekday trip to the “big” dog park. That snot was tired, so she took a shortcut through the weeds and waited for me to catch up on the other side of the circle. I thought I’d lost her, but I heard her snickering at her cleverness over the sound of the breeze. That’s the last time I get a dog that’s smarter than I am.
The change in the weather has also brought along with it a new motivation for me. I find renewed energy and interest in (gasp) cooking and food preparation, and find myself planning all sorts of homemade meals. I’m happily out in my yard harvesting cherry tomatoes and peppers, and bringing them into work to show my co-workers, “Look what I made!” Well, myself and Ma Nature, that is.
This motivation carries over to new art and craft projects, too. I have been excited about trying some new techniques in my art studio and planning some cool ideas for Christmas gifts. I must not be the only one. The public library has a new program called “In Stitches,” providing the Prairie Room on the third Monday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. between now and the end of the year for local stitchers to get together and knit (or crochet, weave, cross-stitch, embroider … ), chat, and enjoy each other’s company. It sounds like a lovely time, and I plan on checking it out.
The last of the flowers are beginning to bloom, and the bees tending to them are getting pretty sleepy. I give them a gentle pat once in a while, since they’re half asleep anyway, and thank them for all their hard work. It’s easier to work in the yard now, with the cooler temps, although I’d mostly rather just sit and watch the clouds reflect the beautiful autumn sunsets we’ve been seeing.
Inside the house is a mess, since I’ve been spending so much time outdoors. That’s alright, there’s rainy days coming where I’ll have no choice but to stay inside and get some of that work done. I love rainy days too, but it’s got to get done sometime. At least I can enjoy the soothing sound of raindrops falling as I labor.
Pumpkin-flavored everything has arrived, to some people’s dismay. I’m not one of them. Pumpkin is one of my favorite kind of malts, not to mention pies and ice cream. I’d get one every night, if they didn’t go directly to my muffin-top. It’s also time to make some stuffed pepper soup, another of my faves. My recipe makes way too much for a single girl, so I’ll freeze half of it, or share it with a friend.
It’s funny how such a simple change can make such a big difference in perception. Just a small temperature drop, a tipping point of season, and I’m inspired all over again. And even though I have the same struggles, troubles, aches and pains, there’s a new attitude and energy to face them. And that’s something I am very thankful for.