Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Prime time in New Mexico

It’s the best time of the year — at least in New Mexico.
It’s the golden Goldilocks season: usually, not too cold, not too hot.
Just right.
If we’ve had a monsoon season, it’s likely to be over.
Most years, though, let’s not place any serious bets in the climate change era, the blustery, season-changing winds (we’ve named them the Doña Anas) won’t be along for awhile.
Hot-air balloonists rely on this ideal little perfect weather oasis in high desert country, which is why the Duke City hosts the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest such festival, in mid-October.
Balloonists have told me about a New Mexico phenomenon called “the box,” pockets of perfection in which you can reasonably expect to launch and come down in predictable areas and conditions.
I think there’s a nice space for living now that’s like that, too.
Let’s add Mary Poppins to the Goldilocks equation. Around this time of year, life can be practically perfect in every way.
Especially in the Land of Enchantment.
By the time you read this, if all goes well, I’ll be finishing a getaway to some of my favorite spots at my favorite time of the year.
If I hit it just right, I’ll get to see the first golden waves of Aspens start their annual gentle but dramatic tsunami cascade over the Northern New Mexico landscape. If you’ve never experienced it, make your plans. I’m a veteran of some spectacular fall color shows in Michigan and New England, but this is my favorite stage for turning a new leaf.
There are vibrant hues and color combinations that seem other-worldly, or visible no place else on the planet. And they include ethereal shades of Aspen gold and warm adobe, against the fall and winter lapis blue skies of New Mexico.
If spring represents new life, autumn in New Mexico reminds us that there is something to be said for maturation, too. Growing old gracefully — and beautifully. Our state’s falls evoke the patina of fine art, the glory of vintage wines, the wisdom of experience and the lovely, life- and soul-affirming possibilities of inevitable change and transitions.
Even when I’m convinced that the best days of the City Different are in the past, this time of year, I’m drawn to my first homeland in New Mexico. I miss my amigos y amigas there and understand why they put up with the rest of the year to be able to enjoy leisurely fall strolls down Canyon Road, around the plaza, the winding little former burro trails, through the hills and mountains, up to the vistas of the ski basin and Museum Hill.
When I can’t make it up north to Santa Fe, the Pueblos and the canyons of Taos, I’m also happy to stick closer to home and walk the shores at Elephant Butte State Park, or explore the quirky corners of Truth or Consequences.
I never tire of my favorite hike around Mesilla Plaza, down the little side streets and farmland acequias. I like the fall gatherings there, too. Mesilla Jazz Happening, this year on Oct. 5 and 6, is an especially nice time to bring and lawn chair and spend as much time as you can, kicking back and enjoying mellow sounds.
And it’s fun to walk around the New Mexico State University campus, see what’s new, enjoy what’s old and appreciate the art and landscaping.
Pick your own favorites, and see if you can find time for a little trip. Or budget time for a walk with friends, kids, grandkids and/or the dog. Plan to do your workouts outside, if you’re overscheduled.
There’s a reason this is FTFS (Full-Tilt Fiesta Season). Enjoy the fiestas by all means, but along with the music, art and activities, reserve some time for human being as well as well as human doing. Stop and smell the green chiles. Have an al fresco picnic. Open a lawn chair or spread a blanket and lean back to savor the moment.
That old cliché — It doesn’t get any better than this — could have been coined for here and now.
This is the (prime) time and New Mexico is the place.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @Derrickson Moore on Twitter or call 575-541-5450.

No comments: