Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

Shiny Brite wreath

Today is Ms. Ché's birthday. She was a Christmas baby and throughout her life she's had two celebrations at Christmas time. She said when she was young, she thought all the Christmas hoo-hah was for her and I suspect she still thinks that.  Heh.

This year, we'll be going out to dinner this evening at Los Poblanos in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, then tomorrow we'll head up to "Mabel's Place" (Los Gallos, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House) in Taos. We'll try for Christmas dinner at Doc Martin's, but I dunno. The town gets packed at Christmas time, and we may have to settle for a couple of Lotaburgers at Blakes. One makes do... ;-)

We were concerned about the weather when we made reservations a month or so ago. It looked like and it felt like we might have some snow for Christmas (always nice but not good for traveling), but no. Not even a hint of it. Sunny and dry and usually very warm day after day. They say there's a La Nina underway, but this is the driest and warmest December I can remember in New Mexico. Earlier this week, the prediction was for very cold overnights and mornings -- below zero in both Taos and our place about 100 miles south -- but no.

Right now, about 6am, the temperature outside here is 42; even in Taos, it's 27. Not "cold" by New Mexico winter standards at all. It feels odd. But because of Climate Change, I'm expecting it to become the New Normal. Actually, we've been having more frequent and more intense droughts for years now.

Drought is what drove many people out of New Mexico time and time again. The three big pueblos on the back side of the central mountain chain were abandoned in the 1670s due to drought (among other reasons, the Spanish padres and their delight in suffering being one), but there are ruins and remains of many other pueblos scattered through the east mountain area, most of them abandoned during earlier droughts. Some were reinhabited, but most, once abandoned, were not rebuilt or returned to.

The last long and severe drought in our area was in the late 1940s and into the 1950s. Old timers say it was worse than the Dust Bowl years, and that was bad. Most of the few people who lived in this area left for greener pastures. If they could find them. So it has gone throughout the centuries in New Mexico, so even as worrying as the situation is now, most folks are at least somewhat prepared for the worst.

So this Christmas with no snow and balmy temps will stand out in our memories, even if it wasn't Ms Ché's significant b-day (she's... drum roll... 70).

Taken at Christmas 2010? I forget. The scene is down the road from our place.

Best Wishes to all, and to all a... better New Year!

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