Ophraim, Utah is a town situated in a nice little valley surrounded by mountains. When fall comes and all the leafy trees change color, it has been a tradition for our family to make long rides up the canyon to enjoy their beauty. When winter comes, the road up the canyon becomes closed but the mountains still present a majestic figure. Even though the aura of the leaves is gone, the snowcapped peaks provide the needed beauty, as it remains there clear into July. For the most part of my fifteen years spent in Utah, I have taken this transformation of the seasons for granted. That is, until the move.
I am about to embark on my fourth winter in the City Beautiful. Four times now I have seen the tall oak leaves change from green to brownish-red: a color that is slightly different from the soft yellowy tint of the aspens that I grew up around. For the fourth time I see the lake get covered with ice and for the fourth time I see heart-stopping sunrises as the glow of the sun bounces off its crystalized surface.
For the fourth time I will soon see the first snow come in its customary high-wind fashion. I will be using the snow to construct snowmen, snow forts, and to start snowball fights with my siblings. All this will be accomplished, not by the heavy, wet stuff belonging to the Beehive State, but by the fine Iowan flakes that fall in great abundance.
I have always deemed the changing of the seasons as magical and enchanting. As awestricken as a child watching a monarch climb out of its pupa, I await the switch from fall to winter with intense fervor. This appreciation has grown since my removal from Ephraim, but not due to beauty's absence. On the contrary, as the years of my sojourn here in the Hawkeye State accumulate, I think that this just may be the place that grants the most excitement. Whether it is better here than in Utah is still up for speculation, but the longer I live here, the fondness I have for this place increases.
And why in the world shouldn't it? I live a quarter mile from the lake and I live right at the edge of the town, enabling me to see much of the scenery that Storm Lake has to offer. I am surrounded by good people and I am accomplishing much. Also, this place seems to be at its maximum potential during this time, and I'm not just talking about nature when I say that.
Whether it is fall-to-winter or winter-to-spring, the transition of seasons seems to be a visible mimicking of the change that goes on in our personal lives. It is a literal metaphor of the metamorphosis we undergo every day and that even though we grow, we still have much to look forward to. This is reinforced by the arrival of my favorite holiday: Christmas. For though the trees have died and the sun no longer shines as brightly, the whole world seems to be beaming with the Christmas Spirit. To all this is the time when, although the weather deems otherwise, things seem to be rejuvenating with life. Not only because December 25th draws closer, but because we have the knowledge that the trees will soon regain their leaves and the sun will come out again in full-force.
This is how it's always been and it is not only fortunate for the aspens up Ephraim Canyon and the oak trees down the road, but for all those who desire to change for the better, realizing that even in the midst of winter, there is always a spring to look forward to.
* Jacob Olson is an Iowa Central Community College student from Storm Lake. He contributes a weekly column to the Pilot-Tribune