By Mandi Donohue

Fall is officially here. Yippee! As I drink this delicious “Green Tea Colada” at The Ave in Okanogan, I am relishing these crisp mornings. I am all too aware of the fact that September becomes October becomes Christmas in this valley and I’m never prepared. Lliam and I wake to the smell of rotting pumpkins on Christmas morning and I swear next year I will do better. So today, like a good, grateful and present human, I am nuzzled nice and warm in a big red sweatshirt from the Mazama Store, and my heart is doing a “hand clappy jig” in its recognition of fall. I see you, Leaves! I feel you, Night Wind! I’m tasting you, Apple Cider Donuts! (OK, I’m always eating the donuts). How do you celebrate fall? I’d love to hear your traditions.

As the old quotation goes, “Autumn is about to teach us what it means to let things go.” And what a beautiful and moving segue into the free toilet I passed on my way home to Lost River Monday night. The sign read: “Works O.K. We needed a high seat toilet!” Folks, they just needed a high seat toilet. Free is free! I hope it went to a happy home. God knows, one man’s can is another man’s … I got nothing.

A homeless toilet.

Photo by Mandi Donohue
Not explained: whether it “works O.K.” where it is or needs a new home.

In other news, fall also means it’s dreaded “Eight-Legged Season.” As much as I love all of God’s creatures, when it comes to spiders, I am a regular Ron Weasley. My sister never liked spiders and my childhood best friend chased me around with them regularly. But I think the real clincher was when I was 4 and our Christmas tree … hatched.

Needless to say, I’ve begun to see “Big Louie” and “Old Marge” make their way across the floor of our living room like it’s their own personal highway. Just when I come to terms with our “friends” visiting again, your stories on the bulletin board about the influx of black widows this year have me literally scratching, flopping and smacking myself to sleep. It’s spastic ridiculousness at its best. A new dance for Halloween! Do not send me your spider stories.

On a positive note, spiders represent creativity so it is no surprise that my artistic family has always manifested them. They are master creators, weaving the most beautiful and delicate of webs. According to shaman Ina Woolcott, they represent the balance between past and future, strength and gentleness, and can teach you how to write creatively. I’ve been meaning to right a better column, and yet… 

As a reminder, Jon Sunderland reached out to me this week to announce that the Mazama Community Club will be hosting its annual autumn potluck on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 5:30 p.m. Sounds like fun. Be sure to mark your calendars. Happy fall, everyone!