Wednesday, August 20, 2008

wait, wasn't June just 10 minutes ago?

From my porch I have a view of the Bosque del Rio Gallinas. For the rest of you gringos that's the woods along the Gallinas river (Gallinas means chicken... funny name for a river, I'd love to have been hanging around the day they named that one). Its filled with cottonwood trees that are older than the United States and perhaps where saplings when Coronado was busy getting lost on his way to Kansas. There's an old apple tree, some wild plums and roses, red willows and fragrant red clover. The little Gallinas river that flows behind my house is full of fingerling trout, big bull frogs and mosquito eating spiders that spin their webs over the swift flowing water.

Today I looked out at the trees and the cottonwoods were starting to yellow. I smelled roasting green chile on my ride home from work. This means fall is creeping in. Soon, the aroma of pinon wood smoke will be coming up from the sleepy chimneys in the morning. The birds at my feeders will head south, to Mexico and other warmer places without hard mountain freezes.

Fall is my favorite season in New Mexico. The oppressive summer heat has passed, the hardness of the unremmitting sunlight and perfect turquoise sky slips into something more comfortable. The smells change from the sweetness of clover and sage to the spice of chile, woodsmoke. Every year I go through the same shock. As if I didn't know that the chamisa and astors wouldn't fill the mesas with gold and purple and the pueblos wouldn't start their feasts and I wouldn't start bringing out the mittens and sweaters. My porch sitting days are numbered.

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