Why Kansas? These are some thoughts of a transplant to the state, from Oklahoma, whose ancestral roots, nevertheless, are scattered across Kansas soil.
“If you don’t like how things are now, then wait five minutes. It’ll change.” We’ve all heard that before one. The saying is especially true during thunderstorm season. We may have a downpour for half an hour, like last night, and proceed to go outside and Weed Eat the lawn, like my neighbor did, or change the oil in the car on dry pavement, like I did. The changing weather provides high drama and we are prone to keep one eye on the sky and one ear on the weather radio. Kansas skies deliver better entertainment than an action-adventure movie, and, best of all, there’s no admission charge.
While summer predominates some years, we generally have four seasons. Local author/photographer Mike Blair captured that in his book A Kansas Year. As hard as it is sometimes to bid farewell to a season, I still appreciate the wonders and beauty that each one brings. Whether it’s summer, fall, winter or spring, the temperature changes, the birds come and go, and the landscape is painted with varying shades and colors.
Sunflowers adorn the roadsides and some fields, but wheat is still king. Year after year we vie with North Dakota for top wheat-producing state. Not only does this Kansas product feed the world, but it also offers a sublime beauty. It is easy to imagine the ocean waves, like the great inland sea of grass that once covered the Great Plains, while gazing upon a ripening wheat field on a windy June day. It’s hard not to feel a chill run down your spine as you reflect upon how these “amber waves of grain” are part of what make America beautiful.
Wheat harvest sunsets and sunrises may be some of the most beautiful in Kansas, but, given a little cloud cover and just the right angle of the rising or setting sun, it’s easy to see the touch of the Master’s hand in the skies above our state.
So, the next time you’re having second thoughts about your Kansas residency—perhaps when the winds are blowing 40+ miles per hour and the dust is flying—don’t forget that this too will pass. We’ll all soon wake up to another beautiful Kansas day.