18 November 2012

Evening Commute

Golden cottonwood, tamarisks, and rabbitbrush, Highway 169 near Alamo, NM, Nov. 2012
Driving daily along the rolling hills, intimate valleys, and open plains between Magdalena and Alamo, I watch the seasons slip from one to another. Maybe half a dozen cottonwoods dot the landscape, tucked into arroyos where they can get enough water in our mostly dry climate. They began changing in early October, first a few golden leaves just around the edges, then toward the trunk, then finally a full-out luscious explosion of deep gold that seemed to glow even after the sunset.

Just after Halloween I realized I'd been watching and enjoying this view daily for several weeks but hadn't shared it yet... so I found a safe pullout, wandered around this arroyo for the few moments I had left before darkness settled in, and got a photo good enough to post (once I'd lightened it up a bit). The leaves have since been blown away on a gusty late-autumn storm, so now we wait a few months for winter to come and go, and for the first tinge of spring green as the hills and valleys come back to life. Maybe we'll get some good snow in the meantime, which might make the commute a bit hairy but will also make for some beautiful landscape.

08 November 2012

Morning Commute

Sunrise, Highway 169 between Magdalena and Alamo, Nov. 2012
I never thought I'd be able to handle a rigid work schedule that requires me to be out the door by 7:15 a.m., let alone enjoy the commute, but this is a major reason I can and do. Thirty miles of rolling hills, open vistas, and sunrises and sunsets make for an amazing commute that I could never have imagined a dozen years ago when my 30-mile commute took me through Southern California suburban sprawl at, usually, a maddening crawl. I remember nudging along those clogged freeways thinking that someday, just maybe, things would be different.

How amazingly different, indeed.

03 November 2012


Last of the hollyhocks, Magdalena, NM, Oct. 2012
Two months without a post... the new job is awesome, but the schedule leaves little leisure time and I'm still working out that professional/personal balance so I can have more energy for stuff I love - photography, music, hiking... The gardening season is over, though, which is always sad (Maggie and I miss our daily grazing for cherry and yellow pear tomatoes) even if it does lighten my "workload" at home. This year, thanks to the new job, I might be able to buy a small, simple greenhouse to grow greens, herbs, and a few other goodies all winter.

Despite several hard freezes this past week (two weeks later than usual! which meant more tomatoes!) a few flowers have survived, including this single hollyhock in the back yard. I also still have some sprigs of pineapple sage left; its stunning red flowers burst out in late September, and its location on my south wall seems to help them weather at least a few frosts before succumbing. My morning glories are gone, though, which to me signals the end of my gardening season... for now. I'll post pics of those soon; I am almost two months behind in my Photoshopping and surely have a few gems in the backlog.

Hollyhock stamens - a bit like a bazillion-armed octopus