If the pioneers had arrived to settle Kansas this past Monday afternoon or evening, they may have turned around and headed back east.
By mid to late afternoon, gale-force winds had switched to the southwest and steadily whipped up dust from the fields. I observed a couple of farmers harvesting corn as I rode my bicycle west to within a couple miles of Cullison, but I’m sure there were many others doing so across southwest Kansas. The combination of corn harvest with fallow and planted fields colored the sky grayish-brown and blotted out most of the sun, leaving only a pale, white sliver.
It was not much fun pedaling into Monday’s headwind, especially with eyes half-closed against the blowing dust. Sometimes, though, you simply need a ride to clear your head. Also, I anticipated a fast ride home on the wave of wind. That it was. It took about a third as much time to pedal back home as it did to pedal out.
We should all be thankful that we normally don’t have dusty, windy days like Monday. Nevertheless, that wind was so familiar to me and even offered a peculiar sort of comfort. Perhaps only a child of the Great Plains could appreciate it. As I looked at my face and eyes in the mirror upon arriving home, it reminded me so much of those wheat harvest days when I used to work in the grain elevators.
I thought of the irony contained within comments of the radio announcer for High Plains Public Radio earlier in the day, declaring what a beautiful day it was going to be and that it might be a good day to play hooky. Sometimes the day turns out other than you expect it to.
In any case, days like Monday help us to appreciate even more the sunny, cool, calm morning like the one that followed on Tuesday. Just ask any tornado survivor what it’s like to wake up to their first clear morning after the storm and hear the birds chirping.