Monday, September 4, 2017

These Unsettled Times



Fall approaches. I am not one to go by dates on a calendar. I think it is time for a major readjustment of the Georgian. Living on the land I find I pay attention more to the winds or lack there of or their direction or something as subtle as how they smell.

Generally there is a day in mid August when a subtle shift comes and whispers of a change of season. I really have not felt it yet. Others are talking about winter around the corner. Frankly, the far corner. But we are a ski resort historically and everyone starts predicting the winter to end all winters months ahead of time. They want their condos and vacation homes booked for the increasingly shorter ski season.

When I began skiing in the late 1960's the ski areas generally opened the weekend before Thanksgiving, and ski instructors and patrol had been on the slopes practicing the week before that. And ski slopes did it without making any snow. And when they closed after Easter it was with snow left on the slopes. And you had to have more snow in those days. Slopes were not as manicured as golf courses and grooming machines were often repurposed farm equipment. Everyone talked of depth of snow at midpoint. Kachina Post on Taos had to be at 50 inches at least and skiing was not good until it reached 70.

Now ski areas begin making snow on or before Halloween if the nights are 28 F or below for four hours or more. And they hope for days in the 40's at a max. Still the local area does not open until middle of December praying they can make it through spring break in middle of March.  Nobody really know the answer to the often asked question, "How much snow will you have on Christmas?" asked by every person booking a condo. Nobody gets that doesn't mean as much as it once did.

It has been a really wet summer. New Mexico is out of a 17 year drought. But the locals will tell you a wet summer means a dry winter. The Great Mullen around my house is rather shorter than it should be to foretell a good snow year. And I don't feel driven to buy three cords of firewood just yet.

We all talk weather this time of year. Aspens are beginning to turn. Nobody acknowledges that has more to do with length of days and how cold their roots are. Not the leaves. But all the forecasts for peak viewing weekends are up. 

I am enjoying my deck time. Cherishing the flowers which seem so great this year for longer. We had a late spring. Hoping the first killing frost (last year it was September 21st) is later this year. But Thicke is already putting on a winter coat, though the horses in the neighboring fields haven't. Then again the summer herds of cattle are moving down the mountain to where they were dropped off in May. Grazing has been good.

Everyone has an opinion about weather.

2 comments:

  1. I so enjoyed reading this! I often notice the subtle shift in season around the twentieth of a month, roughly corresponding to the zodiac sign. Each month has its own character. Summer is still fresh and green in early July, sere and blazing by the end, tired and getting ready for a change by late August. This year marks the first time in 74 years that I look forward to summer's ending. It is September and still hot, still bone dry, still hazy with smoke from forest fires. My kingdom for a few weeks of rain. June was a pleasant mixed bag, but since its end we have had exactly ONE day with meaningful rain. Every time they promise a shower they peter out after three drops of spit. I am told animals are putting on a thick coat early. We shall see. The last thing we want is an early cold spell before snow.

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  2. I miss not living in a country where there are four seasons. Not that I have ever been a lover of winter. I suppose that's to do with spending most of my childhood in the tropics and becoming accustomed to intense heat. But I love spring when the cherry blossoms bloom, the daffodils and crocuses abound. Summer is summer hopefully without rain and autumn as we call it, can be muggy as the leaves change colour from green to gold and red before drying up and falling. In our garden in England we had two magnificent very tall Copper Beeches, one at the front and one at the back. The red leaves as opposed to green, were beautiful. Winter would come with the snow which was picture perfect for a couple of days but then the black slush set in after the trucks had been dumping grit and salt! The Christmas card scene disappeared and that together with digging our way out and putting salt on the black ice in the driveway was the end of picture perfect for me! I enjoyed your post very much.


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