Mountain autumn


SAY WHAT you will about spring. Fall is the best time. Of course, this depends on where you are.

If you live somewhere with sweltering summers, then spring is just an introduction to suffering. Autumn would be the door to pain closing behind you. Time to rejoice.

Most of my life was spent in zones with sweltering summers, so I’m an autumnal man. Falling leaves and shades of brown put a lively spring to my faltering steps.

If you can vision such a thing.

Eating a bagel this morning, I looked out the huge window to the right and noticed falling, yellow leaves from the peach tree. Ah, I thought, the feel and look of fall.

It’s cool out too.

Winter here is not too bad if you don’t mind coats and scarves inside the house in the morning, and I don’t mind.


Here I am drinking hot coffee on a winter morning years ago. My child bride knitted that wool scarf for me.

Another sweet aspect to fall here is that it stops raining. November is our best month. It’s not raining, and everything is still green, not the dusty brown of springtime.

November also brings the Day of the Dead.

But we’re not in November yet. It’s something I look forward to and, in the meantime, I eat my bagels, look out the window and smile at the leaves falling from the peach tree.

As I type this, there is lively music from the neighborhood plaza. It’s been going full-tilt boogy since dawn. I have no clue what we’re celebrating. Perhaps the falling leaves.

More likely some long-gone saint.

* * * *

(Note: That top photo was a zoom test on my new camera. I was a long way off. That arch and the carport roof are inside the Hacienda walls, and I was half a block away.)

My secret

lakeWHEN FOLKS think about living in Mexico, they commonly imagine beaches and constant sunshine. They rarely think about where I live here high in the mountains in the nation’s middle.

There is plenty of sunshine, but there are lots of clouds and rain too, especially during June through October. And there is the huge lake which defines our part of the world. Alas, the lake is shrinking. People my age and even younger remember when it was significantly larger.

After we voted Sunday morning, we headed to a nearby village for lunch, and then we decided to take a drive, just for the sake of it. There is a two-laner that circles the lake, but at one point there’s an offshoot road that runs three or four winding miles, closer to the water — and high.

I had lived here for years before discovering this offshoot, and it was a bear to drive because it was dirt and potholes in the dry season and mud and puddles during the rainy months. But, Lordy, what a view! Not precisely the Big Sur Highway in California, but you get my drift.

And then it got paved. Even though it’s smooth now and offers stunning vistas, it is rarely traveled, another plus.

What a lovely place to live.

I stopped the Honda and snapped this photo. What you see down there is a community of the indigenous people of our part of Mexico. The women are notable for ankle-length, pleated skirts and very long, plaited pigtails.

The guys just look like guys.

We don’t live that far away. And I can travel this twisty stretch of mountain-hugging highway whenever I wish, and I’ll find almost nobody impeding me ahead or tailing behind. It’s my secret, this place.