|cathedral rock — autumn afternoon ~ oil on canvas ~ by dawn chandler ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012
Autumn is my favorite season, especially in New Mexico. The weather and temperatures are more reasonable; more civilized. No wind. Not too hot. Not too cold. The surprise of late summer blooming, like purple asters and gold chamisa… The clear cool crispness of the mountain air, scented here and there with earthy heat-smell of roasting green chiles….The spicy edge of pinon woodsmoke cutting the morning chill… Farm stands overflowing with harvest… clear morning skies overrun by churning late afternoon clouds….
Hmmm…. …..All this leads me to remember one October about fifteen years ago when a friend and I were traveling by bicycle across Mexico, and we stopped for a few days in Mazatlan. We camped there on the beach in a lovely little campground that we had all to ourselves — save one other couple who were camped there in their RV for several months. Turns out they were “regulars” from Albuquerque, who every autumn journeyed to Mexico in their Winnebago, departing the Duke City on Labor Day and living the expat life in Mazatlan until early January.
“What?” I wanted to ask. “Are you frickin’ kidding me?! Autumn is THE BEST TIME to be in New Mexico!!! You’ve gotta be CRAZY to leave Albuquerque every fall!!!”
here’s an autumnal Philmont view — my third in the painting series of Philmont’s Cathedral Rock (see the first painting here and the second one here.) This one is based on a photo taken last fall by Bill Cass, the co-author of the book for which I’m doing this project.