Friday, May 9, 2014

Savor those perfect (and rare) spring days

Maybe it’s time to add another state question to the official “red or green?” chile choice.
Spring or fall?
I realized I’d finally made my choice one recent perfect day when I found myself pausing outside the office, lifting my face skyward, eyes closed and in a deadlines-be-damned, timeless space. Basking, like a happy lizard, in the spring sun.
And no, I hadn’t forgotten that just a few days earlier, I’d endured rain, high winds, dust devils and even a fairly impressive hailstorm, all within a few hours in the course of my outdoor Saturday rounds. Some of it was at Springfest, where I realized the Land of Enchantment is producing healthy, hearty generations of new spring fans, after lingering for several minutes attempting to record videos of dauntless kids trying to make giant bubbles in a windstorm. The next weekend featured wind gusts up to 60 mph, toppling several tents and canopies on my Superweekend festival rounds and literally ripped my pen apart and blew it away, a first in my reporting career.
Ah, spring, when your recently washed and gleaming car suddenly is decorated with dusty polka dots, the special effects of a short burst of very small rain drops, followed by an instant blast of sandy winds. We’d have to admire an artist who managed to achieve such a meticulous, nicely textured masterpiece so quickly, working with volatile, ephemeral media. Bravo, Mother Nature.
Ah, spring, which brought buds three weeks early this year, according to a Doña Ana County Extension official. Did your fruit trees retain blossoms long enough for pollination and to set fruit before the winds blew everything away in beautiful clouds of blowsy petals?
Ah, spring, when the temperature is balmy and perfect, but the air can turn so gritty from a sudden and/or prolonged and sustained haboob that no sane soul would venture out without goggles and a face mask — or at all, if there’s a choice.
Not that staying indoors offers much respite from the fine, slightly oily, sticky dust that seems to seep in just about everywhere.
“It even gets into your closets, and in things in boxes and bags in your closets. I miss so much about New Mexico, but not that,” said a friend, a former Las Crucen who has defected to New York.
But ah, spring. Just when you think the winds will march on forever in lion mode, comes a perfect day.
You take a walk and discover a new crop of neon cactus blooms and see lazy cloud wisps hovering overhead in an impossibly blue sky. Everything suddenly looks like an Impressionist painting, or a soft-focus, hand-colored vintage postcard. ¡Viva Mother Nature!
Perfect sunrises and sunsets, and perfect weather to enjoy them. No need yet, to think about turning off the furnace or turning on the A/C or swamp cooler. Heart-warming days and just-cool-enough nights. Just perfect.
Some tell me they don’t really enjoy spring because they’re dreading the long, hot summer. I guess I can sympathize, but I like my weather — like my chile — very hot, and truth to tell, summer has been my favorite season for most of my life, and is still a close second to spring, here in my New Mexico quenencia.
Many say that autumn is the perfect season in New Mexico, and I’ll admit it has its golden aspen moments. But it can also be dry and dusty and kind of disheartening, depending on how the summer monsoon season has developed that year. And unlike spring, with its promise of new life, things are dying and drying up even more. And winter is coming — something a Michigan native can never take lightly — and more wind storms, cold ones.
So go ahead and sneeze and complain about the dust and the wind and the pollen if it makes you feel better. I’ll remember the spring volcanoes, tornados, hurricanes, late snowstorms, mudslides, floods and torrential rains I’ve survived in other places I’ve lived and consider myself lucky. I don’t even mind the dust anymore. Just another excuse to postpone spring cleaning, no?
I’ll cheerfully weather a little spring bout of wind, dust, rain or hail, none of which lasts very long before reverting to sunny New Mexico spring mode.
And then comes that perfect day to remind you why you moved to New Mexico. Or stay. Or returned. Or never really considered leaving. And you’ll pause and linger, outside the office or classroom, on a patio with margaritas and friends and hummingbirds. Or maybe it’s just you and spring, sharing a moment. And that’s perfect, too.
Ah, spring.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at, @Derrickson Moore on Twitter or Tout or call 575-541-5450.

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