They are a part of life we plow through with anticipation or perhaps with a bit of hesitancy and at times, we probably even dread those bits of time.

They are the times of change. Those moments, days, weeks, months and years when the things we have known are changing and we head into the unknown. Changing from the usual to the unusual scares many of us and for good reason. Those changing times take us out of our safe zones.

For those of us who enjoy a change of scene, change is welcome. We enjoy and embrace the changing of the seasons, the delight of a new food taste, the meeting of a stranger who just might become a friend and maybe even a new mental or physical challenge. Change excites us.

This thought of change came to me a few days ago as I reflected on a couple of recent happenings. The first matter had to do with people and the second occurred when I was thirsty.

I grew up and was a product of white America. People of color — meaning those with skin tones that are a richer color than mine — were not where I was raised. This isn’t meant to be any kind of statement but merely a fact. It was a matter of timing but times have changed.

Over the years, I had numerous opportunities to become acquainted with minorities and at first, found those opportunities a bit unsettling. Than I discovered I welcomed those times and I have finally realized that through these encounters, I’ve grown as a human being.

That “growing process” was evident at a recent event called Culture Fest. The fest was organized to bring together the various nationalities and cultures found in this area of the state. It was an amazingly colorful and interesting time with all the cultural dancing, singing, instrument playing, storytelling and fashions that were presented at the fest. Through such events, I have found many new friends and have learned to welcome the diversity of the human race.

Brushing shoulders with people who are different than me made me change and, I’m so lucky to have discovered this change.

Another bit of change came to me through my need for something to drink. I’d just finished mowing the lawn and was thirsty. However, there was a chill in the air and the thought of a cold pilsner beer didn’t seem proper — I needed a beer with more heft and taste.

We are influenced by our surroundings and the very early autumn air was telling me it was time to look for a porter or a stout. It was time for a change. That change meant a brew with more warmth than cool and a beer that soothed rather than excited. I didn’t have to look far.

Sitting in the fridge was a Schell’s (Stag Series) Bananas Foster Weizenbock — a nice wheat ale that is flavored with cinnamon. Flipping the top off the bottle, I was impressed by the ale’s sweet aroma and upon tasting it, found the slightly dark beer a perfect early fall friend. And, yes, if you really taste it, you can find the banana foster flavor — a bit of brown sugar from the wheat malt, a little taste of bananas and a hint of cinnamon.

My summer Summit Pilsner will be retired for now and I find that change comforting.

In the same manner, I’ve found my summer wine doesn’t give me the warmth and fullness I desire as the evenings began to get cooler.

My usual summer wine is a crisp and clean tasting white wine and I’ve found DaVinci Pinot Grigio to be a cooling summer presence. With its ripe apple and citrus flavor, it’s something to anticipate in the heat of summer. But, those cool breezes have sent me to red wines.

One of the red wines I’ve changed to is Coppola’s Rosso & Bianco Shiraz. This dry red is medium bodied but has a full and luscious mouth feel. Naturally it has a bit of spice flavor but that balances well with the overall cherry taste and it’s a pleasure to sip.

Throughout our lives, we experience change in many ways. Some of us go from being single to being married — that’s a change! Remember that first really bad grade you received in a class? I do and it changed me and the professor when I informed him that he was teaching me something I’d never before been taught.

And let’s not forget what the birth of a child means to us! You want change? There it is — in your face and guess what? You’re smiling through the entire event!

The moral of the story is simply this: take a chance and don’t be afraid of the unknown — embrace change.

Next week, malt is back!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!