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Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcoming Autumn

Autumn is an amazing time of year. In previous years, it was simply the precursor to winter, which I don't like. But this year, fall has become my favorite time of year.

This year's spring was extremely windy and cooler than usual. It wasn't a very pleasant time to be outside, with dust blowing so thick it made the Sandia Mountains disappear from sight. Everything inside and out was covered with brown dust.

Summer in the high desert was, as usual, hot and dry. But fall is just about perfect. Nights are ideal for sleeping with the window open, with lows in the 50s and 60s. Mornings are crisp and usually clear, a wonderful time to walk the dogs. The New Mexico sky, noted for its glorious blue color and crispness, is more spectacular than ever. Cottonwood trees, which abound along the banks of the Rio Grande, are beginning to release their white 'cotton,' which sometimes makes it seem as if I am driving through gently falling snow. They are just starting to acquire their brilliant orange and yellow leaves. Outdoor patio dining offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a nice meal outside on a warm day. Some restaurants offer 'petio' dining that welcomes dogs to join their humans.

We also have been getting some much-needed rain in the midst of the worst drought on record. And the 'monsoon-season' sky offers fascinating cloud formations. (I'm not sure that an area that averages 8 inches of rain/year can have a 'monsoon' season, but that's what the rainy season here is called.)

This is such a great time to be outdoors. Even yard work is almost pleasant because of the weather. It's nice to be able to wear shirts with 3/4 sleeves now, to pull out a nice fleece vest in the morning, and to once again think about making soup or stew, with the aroma only home-cooked foods can bring.

This autumn finds me more appreciative than ever of the glories of nature, and grateful indeed to live in a place where I can truly enjoy them.