The past month I have made numerous trips along Interstate 70 toward Kansas City. My trips were related to the death of my step father and, despite the sad situation, I also found comfort in my surroundings. Driving through the Flint Hills during any season is rewarding, but this year the fall beauty was unlike any I'd ever seen. I was drawn to a particular bluff along the way whose rough chalk-like features provided the perfect background to a small tree bursting with canary leaves. The brilliant yellow surge of color popped and energized my soul. Further down the road I encountered rolling hills engulfed with flaming maples trees, majestic aging oaks and deep green fir trees preparing for the first snowfall. The wealth of deep colors painted a rich canvas and brought new meaning to the Kansas countryside.
As I crossed the Clinton Dam south of Lawrence heading to my mother's country home, the geese flew overhead in a perfect V-shape formation. I could hear their honking voices with the warning of cold weather approaching. I gazed out over the the lake and was mesmerized by the lone fisherman sitting in his boat on the ice-smooth water. I can only imagine the awe of his position as he was surrounded by blazing trees, golden grasses and the auburn sunset.
The next morning while sipping coffee with my mother at the kitchen table, we sat in silence looking out the window. I know we were both reflecting on memories of my step dad while finding peace in the fall setting. The house overlooked the corn field, now full of dry brown stubble. The crab apple tree reflected leaves of jubilant yellows and announced the cherry-red berries attached to the limbs. The leaves on the young maple tree flowed with a deep maroon spirit.
This month I learned to sit back and enjoy the peace of my fall surroundings. Mother nature has a mysterious way of pointing us toward reflection and moments to redefine our future.