It is hard not to contrast the beginnings and endings of the Occupy Iowa City encampment.
Five months ago, when Occupy Iowa City first occupied College Green Park in October, the camp served as a symbol of the movement, and as a logistical center where the group could meet, plan events, and engage in dialogue with the community and each other. There was a sense of enthusiasm and optimism in the air, as the Occupiers spoke about ending wealth inequality in American life, and ending corporate control of the country's government.
It was a warm and beautiful evening.
Today, about fifteen Occupy members worked to clean up the remains of the camp before the city set March 1 deadline in driving, snow-filled winds. The park ground was soggy, and the left over items from the camp -- from both occupiers and the city's homeless who used the camp to weather the winter -- were piled on tarps in an effort to keep them dry.
Alison Clark, 32, of Iowa City paused from disassembling a tent and pointed to a two-liter Mountain Dew filled with a brownish yellow liquid.
"That is definitely not Mountain Dew," she said, leaving the origin of the substance to the imagination.
As of 5:00 Wednesday afternoon the Occupiers had cleaned up most of the tents, with their progress hindered by the fact that the city dump was closed today. Clark said the group was going to have to do the best it could to clean things up, but some of the items would have to be left for the city to clean up.
"I don't feel good about it," Clark said.
While this is an end of sorts for the movement in Iowa City, expect to hear more from the Occupy Iowa City group in the future. Although many were sad to see the camp go, a growing feeling among the occupiers was that the camp was taking attention and energy away from the ideas that they started with that sunny day back in October.
Despite the weather and the task, the feeling of the Occupiers was still generally upbeat, as they said they would now have more time to focus on spreading the group's message beyond this point. In fact, a general assembly has already been scheduled for tomorrow.
As the snow continued to fall -- horizontally -- the small group of occupiers moved on to take down another tent.