Fall is in full swing here in the southern Rockies, and she's putting on quite a show!
For the first half of my life that I lived in a northern Midwestern state, autumn was not a happy time. The summer people all pulled their boats and docks out of the water, closed up their cabins and left us living in a deserted, virtual ghost town. My summer friends all returned to their cities down south, leaving my nearest year-round buds many miles away. For the most part it was cold, damp, rainy, overcast and drizzly, and though we had some pretty spectacular colors early in the season, it usually muted to dull grays and browns by this time of year. And then the blizzards came.
Not so much here in the Southwest.
Fall is when everything really starts to come alive after the heat of the summer. There are fiestas, county fairs, our huge State Fair, rodeos, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (most photographed event in the world), and the smell of fresh chilies and pinon nuts roasting at all the stores.
As Halloween draws near each year, a major attraction right in our neck of the woods is McCall's Pumpkin Patch--which is acres and acres of fun times like a giant corn maze (which we got totally lost in for over 20 minutes!), laser tag shooting galleries, a western town, pig races, kid's zip lines, a mini-train ride, petting zoo, mechanical bulls, a fairy tale castle, live bands, shops, food vendors, and huge hay rides that take hundreds of customers in tractor-pulled wagons out to pick their own pumpkins in the field. Here's a family video taken this year that even includes a look at a Balloon Fiesta mass accension filling the sky on the way there.
At night, things get really interesting with a haunted corn maze and a haunted house complete with a cast of actors trained to scare the heebeejeebies out of you.
So, yes, this time of year doesn't bring on the doldrums and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) of my former life. As things start to wind down for autumn in other parts of the country, they are just getting wound up here.
This Fall came at the close of a very eventful summer, where half the state was on fire at the start, followed by record rainfalls. We had record rains last year too, but this year was 2021 on steroids. In a typical year, we get about 17"-22" inches of rain here in the high desert. This year, we've had well over 43" and it's still coming. The horses have loved munching all the knee-high grass in the pasture the last two summers, for sure. It's truly been a blessing.
I guess the state isn't drying up and blowing away like some predicted. Works for us! Of course, some are claiming that we're still in a *cough* drought *cough*. Uhhhh. Hokay. Whatever floats yer boat.
The Farmer's Almanac says we're in for a warmer, wetter winter this year. That's sounding pretty good to us, too!
All the unexpected weather this year reminded me of a piece of sage advice to writers:
Put weather in it.
Sometimes writers get so caught up in plot, setting, conflict, character motivation, black moments and shocking plot twists, we forget to include the nuances of how weather affects the characters, the mood, and sometimes even the plot.
If you've been reading co-blogger K.M. Fawcett's novel, Captive, you've been experiencing a great example of how weather and climate can affect characters and their adventure. Be sure to check it out!
Have a great week.