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SIGNS OF THE SEASONS TRANSFORM UTAH VALLEY

As the summer in Utah County comes to an end, so do the annual city celebrations throughout the valley. From Lehi to Payson, we've done our best to salute everything from strawberrys to onions, from American freedom to Spanish fiestas to Scottish flings.

This county has celebrated itself right through the "dog days" with fireworks, parades, marching bands and 10K runs. We've clapped, hooted and hollered over bucking broncos and beauty queens.By now you'd think we'd have run out of things to celebrate. But just as summer green transforms to autumn gold, so do we go through a sort of transformation. Our attention is turned to celebrating the return to school books, fall sports, Halloween costumes and plans for where we should spend the holidays.

If you listen closely, you can actually hear and feel the change in the air. Our hot days are 10 degrees cooler than two weeks ago, and sometimes - if you're up early enough - you can feel a tinge of fall in the air.

One morning you wake up and see a slight dusting of snow on Timpanogos, and suddenly you turn your head toward Maple Mountain just in time to see that the leaves have changed colors.

All of this sounds like some overdone travelogue, but then again, we're like that here in Utah Valley.

For instance, just the other day I overheard someone say, "You can sure tell it's fall, just look at all those cars." I suppose he was referring to the influx of college students we have returning to Brigham Young University and Utah Valley Community College.

For long-time residents, those cars are another sign the seasons are changing.

Other signs that foretell our yearly transformation include the numerous sidewalk sales, welcome-back sales, pre-holiday sales and inventory clearance sales. Mr. Mac is having a two-for-one suit sale, Steve Ogden is having his free-labor promotion and Rick Warner is clearing out last year's car models.

All of this is part of Utah County's life cycle. We count on these things to let us know that "all is well".

But what I'm noticing lately is that these signs are coming earlier and earlier each year. Students are coming back to find jobs and housing earlier, the first college football game is almost a month prior to classes, and if that's not bad enough, I have been in three stores just this past week that have their Christmas merchandise on the shelves and displayed from the ceilings.

We haven't had time to enjoy the transition from peaches and cherries to apples and pumpkins. Give us a break folks, and let us have some time to enjoy each day, after all we still have 14 Saturdays until Christmas and the inversion season.

(Genelle Pugmire, Provo, is the editorial assistant in the Deseret News' Utah County bureau.)