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Summer in the San Luis Valley: there’s no place like home (for three weeks)

Fact: The San Luis Valley is the largest alpine valley in the world, surrounded by mountains in all directions.
Fact: Our average growing season is a whopping 90 days.
Fact: July and August are generally the only frost-free months out of the entire year.

In case I’m being vague here, this place is in a perpetual state of COLD.

That is, until now. My favorite time of the year used to be fall with its turkeys and piles of yellow leaves and Labor Day sales. That was when I was a southern New Mexican, back when fall was a tall glass of ice-cold beer after weathering the climactic equivalent of scalding-hot lemonade for five solid months.

But now that I’m living in a satellite of the Arctic Circle, SUMMER is my new season of choice. The heck with soaring gas prices ’cause this is the time of year when I am totally committed to NOT traveling. I’m telling you, come July, THE SLV is the place to be.

sanluisSo in an effort to maximize our short stint with Mr. Sun, my children and I are ignoring our allergies and electronic addictions to go HIKING.

We are reading trashy novels under shade trees. We are picking cottonwood seeds out from our cold drinks and hair. We are quickly harvesting flowers and doing our best to ignore the weeds. We are fixing flat bicycle tires, falling asleep at outdoor concerts, getting low-maintenance haircuts, and barbequing foods that are bad for us. We are painting our neglected toenails, trying to shave our legs regularly, and planting tomatoes in vain.

Our windows are perpetually open and our house perpetually buzzing with flying things. At dusk, we are breaking out with the blankets and sitting outside to watch the bats take over where the robins left off. We are burning citronella and keeping the camphor nearby. We are examining constellations while searching the sky for UFOs.

We have a lot of recreating to do before August when the nights will, AGAIN, start to drop in temperature, driving The Wimps back indoors. Here’s hoping the price of gas has also dropped by then. That’s about the time I feel a strong pull towards the equator, my body saying, “NOOOO. IT’S TOO EARLY TO GIVE UP SUMMER.”

-Catherine Dix

What is Truly Important – Cherishing Those in Your Life

We have closed the book on Christmas 2011 and as we look forward to ringing in 2012 this weekend, I am reflecting on those in my life and those who have shared it.

As I get older and watch my children grow up, I continue to gain insight and wisdom into what is truly important…it is what our elders have told us all along. It’s family and friends and those who love you and you love.

My children and I watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on Christmas Day. I always understood the message, even when I was a child, that Christmas isn’t something that comes from a store or comes wrapped in packages, boxes or bags.