I can’t say that I am used to Kansas weather, but I understand that September is one of the best months to visit – for the same reasons as that is usually true in San Francisco: warm sunny days, with just a hint of the changing seasons ahead. 

Of course this year, nothing is quite as it should be. I left San Francisco on the famous morning where the sun never came up, and the skies remained eerily orange all day. It was quite something to witness as I left early to the airport, and took off in skies that seemed to be only getting darker. There was no sight of the ground until we were across the Sierras, and even then, smoke could be seen hanging in valleys. It was also cool and rainy for the first couple of days in the midwest, before resuming a more typical week of mostly eighty-degree weather.

The initial plan had us starting the drive west last Thursday, but, even though the air had cleared in San Francisco after a hellish week, by all accounts, there were a number of fires close to our intended route, and bad air in several states that we had to cross. And we weren’t really in any hurry. So we stayed put, and are still determining whether to leave in a day or two, or to stay a full week more. Such work as I have can easily be done remotely (though trying to take the time zones into account makes me fear I am missing appointments), and this is the only kind of vacation I am going to get this year. Where we are staying, the garden sloping away from the house reminds me of being in Cornwall at my father’s house, where there is a similar sense of nothing much that needs to be done. We settle into happy, lazy days.

As always when I travel, the absence of a bike means I have laced up my running shoes – for the first time since the spring. This has felt like hard work, but I am always glad to move my body a few times a week.

Whenever it is that we leave, there will undoubtedly be many adventures on the road, not to mention hour after hour of compelling landscapes that will be entirely new to me. When we arrive, and settle into the new apartment, I expect there will be a sense of hunkering down for the winter, since the virus does not seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Taking off on the morning of the 9th.
Wide-open skies in Kansas.
Smoky sunsets even here this past week.
Serene greenery to look out onto.

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