Where Is Autumn?
Autumn is late this year. Summer is hanging on in Santa Fe, and even though green chiles are being roasted outside Whole Foods, their fabulous smoldering aroma evaporates quickly in the searing sunlight. Nobody is loading firewood into woodstoves yet. Why would they when temps are climbing into the 80s? The morning air is more languidly cool than Rocky Mountain crisp. Cottonwoods and elms are just starting to turn from green to yellow, which seems behind schedule.
I’ve been walking every day. A few weeks ago I traversed the hills north of Santa Fe with travel writer Judie Fein, author of the book “Life is a Trip,” which is brimming with stories like how she apprenticed to a Mexican bruja. We emailed to set up the hike: she was in Norway at the time! As we clambered along, Judie told me a canoe story. She tells it better, but essentially it was about a man who was out at night in a canoe having a peaceful time, then this other canoe started banging into him. He got furious at the other person--who would be so rude and downright dangerous? He fumed all night. When dawn came, he saw the empty canoe floating by. The point being: he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He shouldn’t have taken it personally. That canoe wasn’t bumping him intentionally. Judie tells other great stories in her book, available at http://www.yourlifeisatrip.com/home/life-is-a-trip-the-book.html.
Speaking of writers, Jimmy Santiago Baca just gave a powerful reading here (that man can emote!), emphasizing how Southwest border life compels all races to compromise to get along. He also read a poem making a political statement out of what he does naked at home, but I’ll leave more on that to his blog. On October 1-3, 110 authors gather here for the New Mexico Women Authors’ Book Festival (www.newmexicocreates.org). Saturday looks like the best day, with Phaedra Greenwood, Sallie Bingham, Sally Denton, Virginia Scharff, Judith Ryan Hendricks, and Jo-Ann Mapson all talking! Mapson’s new book “Solomon’s Oak,” about three broken souls who befriend each other on a central California ranch, is my favorite October book release so far, along with Nicholas Evans’s “The Brave,” in which the best-selling Brit (“The Horse Whisperer”) returns to the American West, this time writing about a man whose boyhood was in 1950s Hollywood, and who now lives in rural Montana. Hollywood and ranches, I’m a sucker for both.
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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