Studies have shown that weather seldom impacts happiness (except I am sure, when the weather thwarts one’s plans). With that in mind, I have tried to ignore the mind-numbing and body-crushing over-heated humidity I have experienced in Kansas and to enjoy whatever adventure came my way.
I sampled most of the Mexican restaurants in the area with food ranging from acceptable to excellent. Enjoyed gold both in the evening sky and the misty fields. Wandered through botanical gardens where colorful fish swim beneath a dragon wall. Visited the Keeper of the Plains, a forty-four-foot, five-ton sculpture of a tribal chief. Viewed historic homes. Spent a morning browsing in the Wellington library, a Carnegie library that is a twin to one in Delta, Colorado. (At the library, I learned that standing like superwoman, legs wide, hands on hips is empowering. Discovered that highway 89, from Flagstaff almost to the Canadian border, passes by or through at least five national parks — a trip of a lifetime that one day I will undertake.)
I even attended a father’s day cookout.
A particular joy of this cross-country trip of mine has been slipping into the lives of the people I’ve visited, borrowing, for a time, their habitat and habits. My siblings are scattered across the country, seldom in contact with one another. And yet, here in this small Kansas town, my current hostess is surrounded by generations of her sprawling family, from her elderly parents to their youngest great-great-grandchild, most of whom came to the cookout. It was nice, for a day, to be part of such a gathering.
And it was nice experiencing Kansas in such a personal way.
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)