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The Color of Autumn…

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 29-10-2014

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This past weekend we once again headed north into the tall mountains of  Northern New Mexico, getting up over 8000 feet to enjoy the changing color of the Aspens in the forest. And once again, we MISSED it…..Almost all the leaves were history, becoming mulch for the forest, bedding for the animals, cover for the ants and spiders and what ever else old worn out leaves do when leaving their tree homes. There were a few old hangers on in the lower elevations, where the cold spells had not been so bad, just waiting on the Hester’s to make it up that way, and they were yellow and pretty. And we appreciated that. All along the streams in the lower elevations, there were Cottonwood’s still changing and they were a beautiful yellow…..  Missing the Aspen was bad but still it was a very nice trip….. We went down through Fenton Lake State Park where bunches of fishermen, ladies and children were casting for some trout. It looked like they were having fun. Highway 126 from Cuba over to Highway 4 is mostly gravel, so we did not break any speed records. But at that slow speed it gives one a chance to appreciate the real beauty of that drive. Some of the prettiest timber a fellow could ever hope to see. My uncles and my dad (Alabama folks) would have loved to have had a saw mill up in that stand of timber, I’m sure. I thought of some of them on that trip. But you know what I was really disappointed about. There were signs all through there telling the drivers to watch out for deer and elk, and I never saw a one, not a single one. That’s terrible…Well, it was a good outing and we enjoyed our meal at Bruno’s in Cuba, so all was not lost….Maybe next year I can go and get some pictures….On another subject, I once thought that when I get a good camera “I am going to have all these pictures to share”…Now that I have a good camera, I can’t remember to bring it on my trips…..What does that tell you?….Ok, ok, just keep it to yourself….

Comments (2)

What a trip up nostalgia lane that must have been? It reminds me of those four autumns that I spent in New Mexico. Autumn was my favorite season in New Mexico because there really isn’t much of a Spring that I had known in Alabama and now Arkansas. I never did much skiing, so there wasn’t much to the winters either. The summers that I experienced were hot and usually very dry, except for one (of the four) where there was sufficient rain to turn the tumbleweed and mesquite on the mesa green. That one summer really made the area around the Goat Farm look like a farm. Anyway, in the fall, it was cooler. Although there was very little color on the mesa and on the west side of the Sandias (except for our row of populars lining the road into the Farm and the Albuquerque Parks which had to be watered incessantly), a short drive around to the east side of the Sandias as well as a trip up the Sandia Peak Tramway revealed an amazing panorama of color. It made even our sheep, condemned to a cruel death by radiation in the name of science, seem happy to be a alive. Thanks for the memories!

I remember well my first trip up into the mountains of northern New Mexico. It was a weekend trip to Glorieta Baptist Assembly with my Sunday School group from Hermosa Drive Baptist Church during my first fall there. The flaming beauty of the fall color of the aspens and populars on Mt. Baldy made me think that I had finally made it to Heaven, and so Glorieta has meant that to me ever since. A long, slow hike to the top of Baldy in the fall was an experience which I treasure to this day; and, once on top, seeing the colorful panorama below with the buildings of the Assembly grounds nestled in the colorful, heavenly setting is one of my favorite memories of the treasures accumilated during my four years in New Mexico. I understand that Glorieta (the Assembly) has been sold now, but I am sure Baldy is still there. I just hope that the new owner has maintained the assembly grounds in much the same way as it was.

Then, every fall there was the New Mexico State Fair, which I visited for four straight years from 1965 to 1968. I could only walk to the Fair, walk around the grounds, and walk back to Kirtland afterwards, but I remember even now wondering where in the world from whence all of these animals came from a seemingly such desolate place. I was already familiar with sheep condemned to die, but all of these cows, beautiful horses, chickens, and other farm animals dulled my imagination as to where they came. Prior to that, I had visited the Alabama State Fair in Birmingham only once and the County Fair in Columbus, Mississippi only a couple of times. I can not remember many animals at either one. Perhaps I wasn’t interested in something so familiar during the time of my raising. In New Mexico, the animals stood out because there seem to be so few of them. For this reason, I will always remember and appreciate the New Mexico State Fair that brightened my fall season each year for four happy years.

There is one other memory which I must mention during that first fall in New Mexico. This was the bus trip that I made to Carlsbad to visit Pete’s family and to see the Carlsbad Caverns for the first time. Although I did not see much fall color on this trip, I did see much of eastern New Mexico from my bus window that confirmed (in my mind at least) of the “abomination made desolate”, which was New Mexico, which only made the the New Mexico State Fair and the autumn scenery of Glorieta stand out even more in contrast. The Caverns was worth the trip especially for a young lad who had never seen such a wonder before.

Yes, it is a beautiful state and Glorietta is still well maintained. We drove through the grounds a few months ago. Mt Baldy still rules the viewing publics eye and is visible from our house in winter, well, close to our house anyway. Glad I tweaked some memories, as old as you and I are, we should be happy to have a working tweaker.

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