Driving Through Flint Hills at Sunrise is Its Own Reward

When you have to roll out of bed at 5:30 a.m., seeing sunrise in the Flint Hills makes it worth the effort

I was reminded of something Friday that most of us have long experienced: when you buzz through Kansas at 70 mph on the freeway, bent on getting from there to there, it is really easy to miss the beauty of being HERE.

I had to roll out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to make it to one of my favorite tasks as editor of Kansas Farmer: picking this year's class of Master Farmer/Master Farm Homemaker award recipients.

My reward for that was being in the Flint Hills at sunrise. I know some of you wake up to this every day (like you, lucky Lori Fink).

But for me, every trip I make through the Flint Hills is renewed wonder. In many places, the Flint Hills are just like they were thousands of years ago - not just the way they looked to our pioneer ancestors in covered wagons, but the way they looked to the Spanish conquistadors in 1541.

That alone is enough to make your skin tingle. But add in a little nature, like sunrise, and it's incredible. It starts with the first streaks of a pink ball that explodes outward in pink and orange streaks that eventually stretch all the way around the horizon, slowing turning to gold and blue. The horizon turns color, no matter how slow the yellow ball to rise over the hill.

This spectacle, for late risers, often gets repeated at sunset just on the opposite side of the sky.

When we first moved to Kansas my oldest daughter who was big-time into photography as a seventh-grader, shot I don't know how many rolls of 35-mm film because "MOM, this is the greatest sunset EVER!"

As I drove through, I just had to stop and shoot a couple of pictures I  hoped might capture even a tiny share of the magic. I was a little worried about being late to K-State, but not worried enough to forgo stopping, which is why I rolled out of bed at 5:30 a.m. instead of 6:15.

For me, and I hope for you, this is just one reminder of why the joy of living in Kansas is one of the true joys of this season.

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