As my friend and good writer Cheryl Unruh wrote, “The warmth that has lingered in September and October gave Kansans a second chance at summer. (Because the first summer was pretty much unusable.)” To say our summer was unusable is true as rain, which, incidentally, we didn’t get much of either.
Fall was payback time though: we’ve had two months of gorgeouso weather: lingering warm days, muted but long-holding leaves in autumnal tones, cool evenings, and lively warm winds just when we needed them. The sky has been largely been bright blue, the temperature usually between 55-80 each day, and the pumpkins happy next to bunches of mums all over town.
That’s why it was such a shock when the temperature plummeted, the long-forgotten rain came, icy in its edges, and Holy Batma!n, even the power went out. Having slept outside again last night — easy with the futon bed, screened-in porch, cat on top of me and dog beside me — I was jarred to discover that last night’s low turned out to be as warm as it would be this day. As the hours unfolded, the mercury dropped, and the walk back to the car mid-afternoon was a different reality than the walk from the car mid-morning. Then the drive to town in high winds and sidewalks gulps of rain. Then the return home, first to my mother-in-law’s home where I found her and my son sitting on the couch, by candlelight, wrapped in blankets. Now the return of light and warmth while outside the reality of winter winks at us through the window, saying something like, “Look who’s back in town, baby!”
“I’m ready for some snow, just a smidgen,” my friend Kris said today as we tried to make our way through too much fish and chips at Free State Brewery (what sensible people eat when the weather takes a sharp turn for the arctic). “You’re going to get your wish,” I told her, then updated her on the weather report that called for a dusting.
So yes, the utter shock of winter, but at the same time, it’s all such a novelty at the moment that all the down or quilted garments and blankets are objects of charm and purpose today, and the sound of furnace kicking on is a kind of calming music.