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Seasons of change

It hardly seems possible, but the first day of autumn is next week. This year has been anything but normal. After months of adjusting to a new normal, the changing seasons remind us that life moves on no matter in what situation we find ourselves. So it’s best to take advantage of the good things in life. 

As we dip into more fall like temperatures, it is the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the great outdoors. We are lucky to live in a county with some very beautiful parks, and it makes it easy to enjoy nature’s beauty.

Three parks in Newton continue to be closed, including one of my personal favorites — Maytag Park. The parks and recreation department wants to be sure it, Sunset and Woodland Park are completely safe before we can enjoy them once more. 

While I do have my favorite, you can’t go wrong with the other parks still open. My second favorite is Agnes Patterson, which includes the Newton Arboretum. My husband proposed to me near one of the bridges, so it will always be a huge part of my history. 

I was able to check out the new addition to the park, the StoryWalk. It was a collaborative project between the Newton Public Library, Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, the Newton Wellness Coalition, Jasper County Health Department and Newton Parks Department. 

The library recently introduced a new book, “Hello, Little One: A Monarch Butterfly Story” by Zeena M. Pliska. Youth librarian hosted a Facebook Live event with Jasper County Conservation Naturalist Katie Cantu, who demonstrated how to tag a Monarch butterfly to track its migration to Mexico. It’s a perfect topic for the time as we enter migration season, and choosing the book for the StoryWalk brings an element of fun and education to youth. 

I think it is a wonderful activity to encourage families to enjoy time together while promoting learning and wellness at the same time. As I walked the path, I imagined taking my son there when he is old enough to read or even before just to enjoy the lovely park. 

These outdoor activities are something we have been encouraged to do during the pandemic. Walking is an excellent stress reliever and when I lived closer, I used to walk around Maytag Park almost every evening. Even though we haven’t been able to travel and do some of the other things we normally do, enjoying the time outside is not one of them. It’s a part of the new normal we must embrace to get through the year without going crazy. 

On a personal note, we celebrated my dad’s 65th birthday this past weekend. Family gatherings have always been a big part of my life. This year has been strange on multiple levels, and it has definitely changed how people gather together. However, we were still able to celebrate my dad’s day in a fairly normal fashion. 

We’ve been fortunate to get together as much as possible over the summer. I love seeing my parents, brother, sister and their spouses. I love that my son can play with his cousin. My father is all about family time and it worked perfectly. We were able to spend all weekend with family, the perfect gift to my dad.  

As this new normal becomes more routine, it’s nice to know some things never change. 

Contact Pam Pratt at

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