Our old South Broadway home is wide open today with cool breezes setting off the wind chimes and the recently burgeoning pesky flies taking a break. The occasional smell of neighborhood chile roasters wafts through our high ceilings and my mind is wandering through thoughts of the inevitable change in seasons. I make no bones about it (odd expression!), autumn is definitely my favorite time of the year in Albuquerque. It is also the time of year we first arrived here in 1985 and my earliest memories of that first autumn in the high desert remain genuinely kind. It was also that year when I first learned the hard way to always wash my hands after peeling chiles.


We are, in this writer’s opinion, edging into the best season of life here in the high desert. There are days when we do not need the heaters burning nor the swamp coolers swamping. We can open the doors and windows and just enjoy the dry air of (very early) autumn.We can smell the green chiles roasting at local stores. Even though our “big box stores” in New Mexico now roast chiles alongside "Moms and Pops", that unique smell is a small pleasure unknown to most folks across the USA. Speaking of smell-a-brations, it may be time to order up your incense of piñon, juniper, and cedar from Incienso de Santa Fe, which is really located in Albuquerque. You can light up the incense smell memories of those Taos and Ruidoso cabins and casitas with autumn fires ablaze in the corner fireplaces. Beats the long drive.

Santa Fe's Indian Market (2010)
has come and gone

My favorite department store, Thrifttown, is already stocking Hallows' Eve costumes. Our own pumpkin patch has orange giants quietly growing. It's cool enough now to sit on the front porch in early afternoon. Our neighborhood has gone quieter with kids back in class. Whom will we honor on this year's Día de los Muertos?

Maybe it is the slightly different feeling in the wind. Maybe the sight of browning alfalfa hay bales before the newly picked green ones arrive. Or the brilliant yellow flowers or the gorgeously purple ones springing up at the highway's side.

Maybe it's watching an incredible PBS show on hummingbirds in HD when the set goes blank and turns over to Pledge Week, that reminds me it is almost fall.

Or noticing the sun is setting a little earlier and the pre-dawn sky heralds that mighty hunter, Orion. And yes, the Pleiades are visible now as well.

Or wondering about the latest news form Hatch about this year's crop. Will the chiles be as hot as last year? Maybe it's getting our annual Festival of the Cranes info in the mail.

Maybe its the first glimpses of that crystalline sky blue sky that is so often seen on crispy cold days of winter. Maybe none of this will last, but there's that taste of fall.

Zozobra burns soon

Anticipation is larger than life this weekend as just that touch of fall in the air reminds one of the coming season for the NM State Fair, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, ZoZoBra, El Koo Koo EE, Lobo Football (even with last season's gapes), teevee football American style, turning of aspens, falling of leaves... It's all coming soon to a neighborhood near you here in the high desert. Enjoy the anticipation and those momentary cool breezes.
Happy Full Moon over New Mexico tonight.

[Photography courtesy Aquila Arts LLC]

Views: 58

Comment by Benny the Icepick on August 24, 2010 at 4:15pm
I'm with you... this is my favorite time of year: when the tail end of monsoon season coincides with hot air balloons and the greatest smell in the universe.

Though once I have to start wearing a jacket on my bike ride to work, my smile fades just a tad.
Comment by slamwagon on August 24, 2010 at 4:24pm
x3 Fall = Best ev4r!
Comment by Lahjik on August 24, 2010 at 9:42pm
Autumn is what I miss most about New Mexico. I love the Winter and the snow, but Fall is when the air is truly perfect. The heat of Summer fades into crisp evenings and cool nights with maybe a bit of frost in the morning and the smell of pinon wafts down the valley. Of course the smell of chile roasting is even better and the smell of fresh chile on my plate is the greatest of all. Dang, now I need to hit my frequent flier account for tickets back to the mountains...
Comment by jack on August 25, 2010 at 2:04am
Yes, September through December is my favorite time of the year In Albuquerque. The pleasant aroma of green chiles roasting, the fragrance of burning pinon, and cottonwoods turning gold set against the bluest sky a person could possibly imagine....Jeff you make me homesick!
Comment by GaleM on August 25, 2010 at 8:05am
Thanks for all the reminders of the lovely NM fall. It is also my favorite time of the year. Hopefully I'll get down for a visit before it passes!
Comment by Stephanie James on August 25, 2010 at 8:26am
Fav time here too. I had my first whiff of ganja chile roasting last weekend. And this morning is wonderfully crisp. Saw quite a few balloons up on our walk to school with the kids. They get so excited.
Comment by aByX on August 25, 2010 at 9:27am
There's no place better than NM in autumn. There's something especially magical about the light and the way the air smells.
Comment by La Fanciulla del West on August 28, 2010 at 3:33pm
Oh geeze. I am so homesick now.
Captive in Charlottesville
Comment by Barelas Babe on August 30, 2010 at 11:27am
@La Fan! You've been missed. Are you at UVA? If you are desperate for roasted green chile, contact the DC area UNM alumni group. Their annual chile roasting picnic is always in mid-Sept. It is a bit of a drive, but they roast the chile on site! (They are also selling some green chile in Alexandria, if you want a shorter drive).


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