Why I Love New Mexico in the Fall

by Pari Noskin Taichert

Pardon my enthusiasm, but . . .

I’ve experienced fall in the gorgeous Midwest, drank just-pressed cider, and admired the red-gold leaves. I’ve played in the snow of the East Coast and admired the trees in DC. But my heart and love for the season find full blossom in New Mexico.

I’m sharing these pictures with you today because they make me happy. I’m hoping that they’ll remind you to breathe this week, to take time to witness beauty in your own corner of the world.

For years, I’ve fought being called a "regional" writer. My response to that moniker is beginning to chance. How many other people in the world are fortunate enough to be born somewhere as glorious as my home state?

So, I’ll write about NM and share it with the world. Eventually, enough readers will come to see it as I do . . .

P1010242 This summer has seen more rain than we’ve had in decades. This is my front patio. Basil has taken over. This crop came up from two small potted plants from last year.

I didn’t even realize they’d germinated.

P1010244 When I was a child, I used to go to the park near our home and spread out under a tree and look at the sky. It always seemed bluer through the leaves. A few days ago, I was writing and decided to take a break. I went into our front yard and looked up. The sky’s color took my breath away for a moment and I remembered that childhood joy. Then and there I swore I’d look up more often.

P1010246 Isn’t this tall grass cool? In NM, many people are now opting to get rid of their water-sucking bluegrass and replace it with xeriscape plants. Though some may claim that this new landscaping should be named "zeroscaping," when done right, it’s stunning.

P1010249 The roses have been quite lovely this year. I learned about pruning them because of our Labrador puppy. He ate them all down to nubbins a few years ago — and they thrived. Now, I chop them down to size each spring and revel in their color all season long.


This purple aster, and the photos that follow for the rest of this post, are from a recent walk our family took in the mountains near our house. In Albuquerque, if you drive east, you end up in the mountains. From our house, which is in the city proper, it takes about ten minutes to get to the foothills.  When we went a week ago, we were astounded at how lush our mountains had become. Wild grasses, flowers — even the cacti — looked healthy and abundant. Animals will have a good winter this year — with enough food to survive. 

The mountains you’ll see in these photos are really the foothills to the Sandias. Notice the sky and the quality of the light on a late Sunday afternoon. P1010259_1 P1010260

P1010260_1 Notice the cacti in the photo on the left. P1010269

On the right, a little to the left of center, is a healthy yucca. That’s the state plant/flower. People around here can’t pick it or destroy it. However, the Indians can use its roots for shampoo and food.

The following photos are wild grasses. My family and I couldn’t believe how many varieties had grown this summer. We’d never seen some of them before.

P1010263 P1010265

P1010267 My daughters and I dubbed the grass on the left, "Fairy Grass."P1010268

The grass on the right is so wacko and curlycue-y. It makes me feel good just to look at it.

P1010264 There’s something about walking these foothills that consoles me. I think the fact that nature is so much bigger than we are, well, it gives me hope.

Thanks so much for indulging my little celebration of a New Mexico fall. Even though I didn’t include pictures of yellow-leaved aspens, I think you can understand why this landscape speaks so profoundly to my heart.



6 thoughts on “Why I Love New Mexico in the Fall

  1. Iden Ford

    My favourite photo is the last one with the boulder in the middle and the blue sky. Do you get winter there? Probably in the mountains yes? I so love the southwestern landscape, it it truly lovely and one of the places in America that seems untouched. But I hear pollution is even a problem in the southwest which is too bad. Lovely place Pari. See you on the weekend, cameras in hand.

  2. JT Ellison

    What a lovely way to start the week. Thank you for sharing your NM fall, and giving us a glimpse into your beautiful state. Those roses are yummy. I feel better already.

  3. pari noskin taichert

    Iden,Good to hear from you today.Yes, there is pollution here — but the air pollution that settles in the Rio Grande Valley is no match for a good east canyon wind coming out of the mountains. So, the brown inversions from which we suffer in the winter rarely last more than a day or two. Most of the time, the sky is at least as blue as in my pix.

    J.T.,I’m glad these pictures helped start your week well. That was my intent. Sometimes, it’s just nice to see some beauty, to remember that whatever problems we face are small compared to the big ol’ world out there. I think that’s one reason I adore mountains so much. They force perspective. We humans are mighty small — and that’s a good thing.

  4. Elaine

    What a wonderful idea to give us a peek of New Mexico! I’ve never been there – but after seeing the those lovely grasses and strong foothills – I had an instant feeling of serenity and calm. No wonder you love it so much.

    And the roses! Gorgeous. In fact, I think I can snif them from here.

  5. Deni Dietz

    Having lived in Las Cruces for many years, I share your love of NM. In back of my house – with a Rte 3 address – were pecan groves as far as the eye could see. I had a horse, Apapaho, and two Shetland ponies – Princess [I didn’t name her] and her daughter, Merrylegs [I named her]. Plus, chickens [I named them all, but only recall Froot and Loop].

    My dogs: Sam, Shaft and Tumbleweeds [“Weeds”].

    Fun memories. Thanks, Pari.


  6. pari noskin taichert

    Ah, it’s a quiet day in the neighborhood.

    And it’s gorgeous outside my office window.

    Elaine and Deni, thanks for stopping by today.

    Deni, did I tell you that my next book — after THE SOCORRO BLAST — will be set in the Las Cruces area? I’m learning a tremendous amount about the chile pepper industry.

    Elaine, you hit it on the head: calm. When I take the time to go to the foothills, I’m filled with it.


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