Pardon the interruption, but, well, please go outside.

It’s a serious time. There’s a presidential election heating up, plus all of the important further-down-the-ballot races. There’s a viral pandemic that’s killed more than 200,000 Americans, including some right here in our community. There are serious issues having to do with race. We need to figure out a way to talk to each other better about all of this.

But rather than dwelling on all that 24/7, we’d like to suggest that you go for a walk. Can’t walk? Fine, just go out and sit down. The point is: Get outdoors, and breathe in some fresh air. Stay out there awhile.

This is the money time of year here in northeast Kansas. This is what we’re here for.

It’s the nation’s icebox in February, and it’s the nation’s furnace in August. That’s when you pay your dues as a Kansan. Those months weeds out the pretenders. People who can’t hack it -- or can hack it but have enough money to avoid it -- go to Colorado or Minnesota in the summer, and they go to Arizona in the winter.

But if you’ve paid those dues, you need to enjoy the return on your investment. October is glorious, none more than right now. It’s still warm enough to play tennis at City Park, or jog around the park trail, or just take a stroll up Poyntz. It’s cool enough that it can get brisk at night, and you don’t end up in a sweaty froth just going out for the mail.

Now is the time when the trees suddenly explode in oranges and yellows, and gradually everything gets tan and brown, and it’s strikingly beautiful if you pay attention. Take a hike out at the Konza or up at Top of the World, or take a drive down Zeandale Road. Ride your bike on the Linear Trail. Drive west on Poyntz, just past 18th, and look at all those old giants as their leaves change. It doesn’t get much better than right here, right now.

In fact, during a normal year, when you can smell the barbecue in the parking lot, there’s no better place on earth on a football Saturday. Now that’s all off-limits, for understandable reasons, but the weather factors are the same. We might not have a normal football weekend, but we are sure having a beautiful week in the fall.

Soon, this will be gone. At Thanksgiving, the trees will be bare and the grass will be brown, and the north wind will come up, and you’ll feel winter on its way. By late January, you’d pay through the nose just to feel some warmth.

Right now, it’s free. Just open the door and take a step out there. You’ve earned it. You won’t regret it.

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