What a glorious time of year! Here in the Texas Hill Country, it hardly qualifies as Fall, compared to the ones our family knew and loved for twenty four years in Northern New Mexico.
Ahhh….. How well I remember the sights, sounds, and feel of Fall in Los Alamos!
The tall, slender Aspen trees on the ski hill, golden leaves rustling in the wind, displaying their grandeur, invited those willing to take a break from daily routine.
The air at over 8000 feet was brisk, even in September. Calmness flooded my soul as I sat on the deck of the lodge with a thermos of hot chocolate and a good book. The icing on the cake was watching the kids run up the grassy hill and roll down, pausing occasionally to examine one of God’s wonders that piqued their interest. Too soon this hill would be bustling with people, decked out with snow gear; some daring, ready to tackle the most difficult hill, while others, content to ski the bunny hill. But before the snow completely blanketed the slopes, I took advantage of soaking fup all the quiet, peace, and beauty that Fall brings to this special place.
Already, this year, in early October there is snow on the mountain top and a dusting on the ground. The Aspens, peaking out between the Evergreens, put on quite a show.
The sweet aroma of roasting green chile (we call it the nectar of the gods!) at the Thursday farmer’s market wafted through the air as I strolled down each aisle, lingering at my favorite stands. I sampled green chili jelly, hot apple cider, mango salsa. Yum! Inevitably I encountered friends, so it was important to allow time for a chat. In a small town you can’t go anywhere that you don’t see a familiar face.
Oh, and I always had to buy a chile ristra for my doorpost.
Even in August, evenings might find us sharing home-made ice cream around a fire pit with friends. Getting too far from the fire would nearly always guarantee the shivers.
And then there’s the apples! What’s Fall without apples?! Eating apples, sweet and crisp, and baking apples with just enough tartness to make a good pie, were ready for picking by the end of September. Apple trees, preferring cool weather, grew well there. Since we had no apple trees in our yard, the elderly woman across the street generously allowed us to pick from her three trees. I canned, dried, froze, and juiced. Peels and pulp from juicing provided nourishment for worms in the outdoor compost pile.
A large box dehydrator made its home in the dining room during this season, providing both warmth and divine apple fragrance (to rival Bath and Body Works Fall air fresheners any day.) Using our hand crank apple peeler/corer, much faster than using a knife, allowed us to process through many more apples in a day. This handy device provided lots of family fun and is a tradition that continues with our grandkids.
Now, in mid-November, it finally feels like Fall in the Texas air, at least in the early mornings and late evenings, but not much evidence in the leaves or our 75 degree days. The Red Oak, one of the only local oak trees to lose its leaves, barely has a hint of yellow in its treetop.
As I sat around an evening fire pit this past weekend with friends…….
And as I take in the sweet smell of roasting chiles in front of HEB…….
And as I smell apples baking…….
If I close my eyes real tight and use my imagination I can almost feel like I am transported back in time to Northern New Mexico, experiencing the sights, sounds, and feel of “real” Fall.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Stepping into a new season, be it seasons of weather or seasons of life, brings new changes. Not all are as glorious as those New Mexico Falls, but I am grateful for an unchanging God Who walks with me through it all.