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We’ve been given an extra week of summer it feels like, and I spent yesterday at the pool watching the progress my son has made at swimming. I’m already missing the sun being around longer into the evenings. I’m considering a clothing subscription box for my child because I’m greedy and granola. Yoga teachers are talking about the changing of the seasons and how it may be affecting anxiety. They say to ground into the mat, but I don’t feel anxious at all. I already felt grounded, and I’m OK with that. No need to keep up with the Joneses.

The list on the desk for what to concentrate on this fall hasn’t gotten peed on by the dog or the kid yet. It reads: tennis, family bonding and the gym—but, to be honest, I had to walk over to the desk to see what it said because I already forgot.

Downtown is turning yellow on the fringes.

I’ve finally sat on my back porch for the first time all summer long just today.

I may have a fever but there’s an essential oil that can fix that, I’m sure. Or maybe it’s just that I forgot to eat -- a can of beans will do.

Dating in this town is a real life version of The Twilight Zone in my head every day. This is the time of year where people are in a mad dash to get into a relationship because there’s still a chance you would be invited over for Thanksgiving dinner if things move fast enough and you get through the Halloween costume party without running into too many of your exes downtown.

Home is now HQ for The Routine. You envision those obstacle courses like in Casper or Full House that have machines that brush your teeth for you or put on your shoes while you’re still in bed.

NAU students make you confident you’ll never teach your child how to drive and that, by then, everyone will be taking public transportation anyway, making cars a distant memory or old dad joke.

The pull between summer and fall for families is taut. Labor Day weekend reminded us to slow down, but it seems like the last phone call to sanity/spirituality for a long shot.

In an effort to encourage you to take a little simplicity into your fall, I urge you to write in to Flag Live! when you read this column with five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste…..just like the Pacifica app I saw advertised on Instagram tells you to do. I’d love to read them and see what we all are sensing.

Also, in honor of the Northern Arizona Book Festival coming up this weekend, I’d like to know either your favorite poem about the changing of the seasons or a favorite line by a local author. I’ll respond in a couple weeks when we cycle around again.

I don’t want to tell you to slow down because maybe the rush of fall is what you need. Maybe speeding up slows you down in the same way that crowds give me peace. I won’t tell you to breathe because breathing never really works for me. I won’t tell you to begin a list of gratitude because those feel forced we’ll all be puking them over social media in November.

However, I will tell you to shut up and go outside. That’s why you live in Flagstaff, isn’t it?

From my back porch, there’s not a cloud to be found in the sky. Aspen leaves look like spades. The spider web catches light like a strand of silky grey hair. The sound of the leaves through the trees reminds me of the sound of his crinkling starch dress shirt.

The dog joins me. I’ve never looked into my bedroom window from the outside in the daytime. I see the stained glass I inherited from my mother on the window.

My son told me recently, “This is me being peace,” and he closed his lips and looked for approval.

Shut up and go outside, in every season.

And this can of beans is just as good as any.

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Katie King lives at high altitudes telling middlebrow jokes, mostly to her son who tells her to get real. She is an actor, writer, songwriter and claims 17 years as a Flagstaff local.


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