Pinecones dropping from pine trees, and new-fallen yellow leaves scattered like lemon drops on dirt roads. The giant sunflower is still standing tall, but its leaves are rumpled. September and October are my favorite months in Santa Fe, with everything feeling crisper and more precious as sunlight slips away. The threat of a hard frost creeps closer as it gets a degree or two colder at night, even though it’s still in the 40s. On my morning walk, I look forward to the streaky pink-gray clouds that sometimes filter the pure sunlight. Leslie Marmon Silko writes evocatively of these “cloud beings” with minds of their own in her new nature-oriented memoir “The Turquoise Ledge.”
In downtown Santa Fe (yeah, there is such a thing—it’s the area around the Plaza), parking spaces can once again be had now that tourists are scarcer. Santacafe, the elegant eatery where art stars and realtors gather, still has a seasonal Crab Louie salad for lunch and still is serving on the patio.
Out at the barn, fall always meant fall shots for the horses, and their coats would be thickening now. In Ryo’s last year, his coat didn’t thicken at all and the barn owner told me Ryo wouldn’t survive that winter. My former acupuncturist Beverly used to say that fall is about harvesting the bounty that life has brought us, and abandoning the plans that didn’t reach fruition. We’re lucky enough to have two long months of a lingering fall here in Santa Fe to come to terms with that concept of harvest/loss… and to continue putting effort into what we want most.
Above: My mustang Ryo in Tesuque, NM. Our barn owner in Malibu described him as Ghandi-esque because Ryo didn't fight for the best feed bin like the other horses. When Ryo died in Tesuque, I turned on my car radio to hear John Lennon singing "Imagine"... that was Ryo "living life in peace."
PHOTOS BY WOLF SCHNEIDER