Dennis Hinkamp

Dennis Hinkamp

It’s late August and the sea of orange vests and cones recede, the national parks become drivable and sullen summer youth become sullen students. Harvests loom, pupae cocoon and the trees festoon the canyons with color. Daylight savings time overstays its welcome so long we can’t remember what we actually saved.

Air conditioners cease their constant hum, and furnaces grumble awake from their summer hibernation. The dog parks refill with a joyous pooping, fetching, running frenzy of pack behavior. Dog owners document on Facebook. The circle of weather dictates that morning sweaters give way to afternoon sweating and return to evening sweatpants.

The spring’s promise of fresh farmers’ markets, food trucks and baby ducks fade into memory and give way to the promise or dread of snow. The valley is full of marathon runners and bikers for the late summer’s two premier sporting events. ResidentS grumble of traffic delays due to those not in cars. Pumpkin spice flavoring is in everything too soon and the Christmas décor is hiding at the big box stores waiting to spring out and scare you before Halloween. Thanksgiving pleads, “What about me?”

It seems like we got off easy this summer with not much of a heat wave or drought restrictions. Though it seemed like the city was a rat maze of detours and closures without sign of a reward pellet at the end, we made it through with a minimum of road rage. I have to admit the main roads in the valley are shiny and smooth and I have not heard of construction worker deaths in the process; this a double win.

The destruction and construction on the south end of Main was epic, and I never use the word “epic.” Though I will miss the giant fisherman’s fly and that restaurant on the west side of the Main that has changed so many times I don’t know what to call it, I have to admit the entrance to Logan looks better. There are a few too bright LED signs that should come with trigger warnings, but it still is generally better. We have Stevens Henagar College-lite, Starbucks and Harley Davidson there to greet visitors who thought Logan was really different from anyplace else. That’s fine because we don’t want tourists to settle here anyway.

The secret is that we are not all that different. The not-so-happy valley was punctuated by two horrific crimes this summer. This does not make me love Logan any less, but it is a reminder that murder and mayhem can happen anywhere. There is nothing special in the water here that protects us, but like the children in Lake Woebegone we are better than average. We need to look out for each other.

Oh and it is that time of year where Dennis goes to Burning Man for the 22nd consecutive year. I hate to use the word “microcosm,” but it is a microcosm of my life here in the valley. Both have grown from cute, small beginnings into gentrified megamillion dollar operations. I keep going there and staying here mainly for the people. Some of those people are bad people, but most of them are good, and a shared history is hard to find when everyone moves around so often. Maybe with internet homogenization there is not a “there there” anymore, but we can still aspire. If I am somewhat somber today it is for no particular reason other than the change of seasons. “Seasons change and so do I” — The Guess Who? No, seriously, The Guess Who.

Dennis Hinkamp wishes you all a fabulous fall.