Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Magic Day is almost here

Ready for the best season of the year? 

Right now, it may seem like a very long time away. It's hot and muggy -- or as muggy as we ever get in high desert country. 

You, the kids and grandkids might be feeling a little blue because school starts so early here. People say kids get used to it, or never miss what they've never had. 

But after a couple of decades as a New Mexican, I still find that it seems contrary to the natural order of things to start school before Labor Day, and getting out in May never seems like quite enough compensation. 

Nope. The summer months are the summer months: June, July and August. And free-range kids should be able to play and sleep in and do silly summer things and read good books through it all. 

The usual compensations for going back to school don't seem as comforting and inspiring when you head for the classrooms in August. 

As some of the kids I interviewed for recent back-to-school fashion features told me, the excitement of getting new fall clothes just isn't as much fun when it's too hot to shop. And even if you do find the perfect sweaters and long-sleeved shirts, tights, skinny jeans and boots, everything will be stuck in the closet for a long time before you'll have a chance to show 'em off to your classmates. 

For awhile, it will be summer as usual: hot, hot and more hot. So the best of your summer clothes will be trotted out for a few more weeks, reminding you of those carefree days you just abandoned. All the heat and none of the scintillating sizzle of the season. 

It just doesn't seem fair. 

But don't despair. Nothing lasts forever and great stuff is coming. We're on the brink of Full-Tilt Fiesta Season. Deming's Great American Duck Race events and programs start this Thursday, and both final duck racing heats and Las Cruces ' own SalsaFest will be next weekend on Sunday, Aug. 25. 

You can cheer up yourself and your loved ones with a road trip or immersion in a power greater than summer doldrums or too-early back to school. That, of course, would be fiesta spirit, a force that is strong in all true New Mexicans. 

There's a lot to dream about and anticipate, as the crops start rolling in and the official aroma of FTFS -- roasting green chiles -- fills the air. 

Before long, we'll be celebrating the endorphin rush of the hot stuff as the main attraction at some of our favorite fiestas: SalsaFest, the Hatch Chile Festival and the Whole Enchilada Fiesta. And chiles will be important guest stars at just about every indoor and outdoor gathering. Ristras will festoon our doorways, kitchens, roadside stands and outdoor markets and festivals. 

The venerable official state question ("Red or green?") will take on fresh new meanings as we experiment with just-harvested crops and try new recipes or cook up old favorites, which never taste quite as wonderful as they do this time of year. 

Before you know it, these torrid days will be behind us and we'll realize, yet again, that time really does pass more quickly when we're having fun. 

And there will come the special time my sister (who lives in Florida, where August is considerably muggier and more miserable than ours), once christened as "magic day." 

It's a time when fresh Pacific Ocean breezes seem to leap over the Rockies and onto our patios, where we will be tempted to linger a few more minutes or hours, instead of rushing for the shelter of the nearest, most intense air conditioner. 

We'll plan weekend fall getaways and find excuses to plan picnics, take long walks and organize outdoor excursions. 

The weather will be warm and sunny, with a hint of invigorating morning crispness. The skies will turn perfect New Mexican lapis lazuli blue. Our flowers will rally for a last autumn hurrah and so will we. 

The best is yet to come, amigos. Magic season is almost here. 

S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter or call 575-541-5450

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