Summer is hanging on with surprising vigor this year, sending out an uncomfortable array of 90-plus-degree days well into September. But don’t lose hope: Fall will be here soon — Monday, according to the calendar — and along with it an opportunity to enjoy Kansas at its best.
Our state’s residents are a modest sort, generally, and we’re not much given to boasting. But a cool fall day in October or November in this state is something special. There’s a bite in the air, the skies stretch endlessly, and it’s ideal weather to enjoy the outdoors without breaking a sweat. This precise intersection of temperatures, time and inclination happens seldom, which is why we should be prepared to seize it when it comes.
Schools are off over the summer, which unfortunately puts the impetus on parents and grandparents to focus their vacations then. But for all its virtues, summer in Kansas can too often be just plain hot. You can drive deserted neighborhood streets as the kids huddle indoors to enjoy air conditioning.
Wouldn’t it be something to have a fall holiday — something earlier than Thanksgiving break, which can tread on winter’s chilly toes — to enjoy? More time could be spent comfortable outside. Yes, trees might be shedding their leaves a bit, but that’s part of the charm.
Because with school revving up, with work obligations ever-pressing, and with the winter holidays looming, it can simply be too easy to miss fall. If you blink, the two-month window vanishes into a swirl of frigid wind and icy snowflakes.
So be here now, in the present.
We as humans are bad at this, always scurrying from one imagined crisis to the other. We are preoccupied with the past and future, which are both more mental concepts than actual, tangible realities. Think about it: We are here, now. That’s what we know and what we can be certain of.
We have now to enjoy the outdoors, to sneak in a brisk walk around the block, to ride bikes with our children through the neighborhood. We have now to spend evenings with friends, raising a glass to companionship and laughing together at the world’s follies. We have now to simply enjoy existing, during this singular moment.
So perhaps our modest request to you isn’t just about enjoying the fall, although you should. It’s about being present for the fall, about letting yourself be placed firmly within today. The present is all we have — it’s all we will ever have.
So treasure it for the miracle it is.