Photo by: Robert Baker
So years ago, I was privileged to spend the early part of December in Florida. As I boarded the plane in St. Louis to leave, it was cold, sleeting and they had to de-ice the plane before we could take off. I was dressed in about 10 layers of clothing, trying to stay warm and as we landed in the Sunshine State, I was so thankful for those layers as I began to de-layer myself right there in the airport. Just a few hours earlier it was in the teens with a bitterly cold northern wind blowing and white sleet all around us. Now though, it was in the high 70's, a bit of humidity, sunshine and palm trees all around us. It was then and there that I decided that I could easily be a Florida girl. The only things stopping me from packing my bags and relocating were....money (I was also a poor girl) and more importantly........Fall.
It was glorious to spend seven days in that beautiful state and I loved that it was December and I was wearing shorts. The days were very warm and the nights were comfortable. We even got a thunderstorm very reminiscent of our Kansas spring storms. It was amazing, but very heavy handed with what amounted to only one real season. As much as I love the warm and balmy, 365 days of the basically same stuff might be a bit of overkill. When I finally got back to Kansas and the proper 20 degrees, cold and ice, it somehow just felt right. That is when I realized I was a season girl.
Kansas takes a lot of ribbing for it's flat plains and it's distinction for being non-distinctive to those who have never been here, but say what you will, it is also one of the few states that enjoy true seasons and the individual beauty that each season brings. Most states are pretty unbalanced having only one maybe two actual seasons. However, step into Kansas and regardless of the time of year, you are stepping into a season.
While most of you who know me or read my blogs know that I favor some seasons far more than others and you also know that I am not at all a fan of winter. That being said, I do however appreciate winter for its season and for what it brings to the table in the big scheme of the seasons. Kansas winters can at times rival our northern brothers in cold and ice. Throw in our notorious winds and the wind chills can make frostbite an inevitability if you are outside too long. The only thing we don't share with our northern kin is our snowfall amounts. Usually we don't get more than a foot to two feet in a season.....and that is just fine with me. By the time spring begins to show itself, most of us Kansans are ready to bid a not-so fond farewell to winter.
Spring is one of my two favorite Kansas seasons. From the first signs of new life pushing up through the ground, the warmer days and the subtle change in the air, I shed my winter sulk and begin to enjoy this new season. My favorite part though.....our famous Kansas storms. There is nothing that invigorates me more than the first storm of the season. There is something about the heat, humidity and the electricity (both literally and figuratively) in the air that stirs the blood. Maybe it is the sense of possible danger that looms behind every roll of thunder and every lightening strike or maybe it is just the cleansing you feel as the storm moves on, but whatever it is, Kansas storms are special and they make me long for them the other nine months out of the year.
Kansas summers are full of heat, humidity, wheat fields, blue skies and they are what every Kansas child dreams of in the long cold months of winter. Our temperatures can at times rival our warmer siblings with temps soaring as high as a 110, but it is seldom a dry heat as we have the humidity of the genteel south too. Because of this combination, there are days when 95 degrees can feel more like a 105 and be quite dangerous too. All in all though, this weather makes for long leisurely days by the pool and many endless outdoor evenings looking up at the stars.
However, the best time of the year (only rivaled by spring) and the main reason I will only ever be a Florida girl in my mind, is because of Fall! Fall in Kansas is special to me. There is something so wonderful about that feeling, when you know that the summer heat has finally broken and the days cool to the 60's while the nights cool to a chill. There is true beauty as the leaves begin to turn and on certain days, the sky is such a deep blue against a sun whose heat becomes less and less that it is cause for amazing spiritual joy. The colors dazzle with their reds, violets, oranges, yellows and browns and your steps crackle as the leaves dried and brittle crunch under your feet. There are football games, bonfires, mittens and coats. Most of all, there are mornings like this.
The rain is drizzling outside my window and their is a chill in the air. Looking out the window, I watch as the world prepares for the changing of the seasons and the trees and plants prepare for a long sleep, I feel happy. It is a warm slipper, pumpkin latte, cozy blanket kind of day. It is a curl up, read a book and blog kind of day. It is a warm house, apple cider, pot of chili kind of day. It is a Kansas Fall kind of day.......and one of the many reasons that I love my home.
Yes, the upcoming winter will be too cold. Snow will drive me to distraction and next summer I will curse the heat, but at the end of the day.....I am a Kansas girl and Kansas is where I think I'll stay.
Happy "Fall" Monday!