Sandhill cranes begin their journey north up the Rio Grande Valley, calling out as they fly. The Jaramillo family rounds up their herd and takes it to summer pasture up north. Nights come alive with tree frogs singing by the river. Owls hoo hoo, and coyotes jabber. Blue flax blooms in the garden. We begin irrigating the fields. Bats and swallows swoop silently at the surface of the pond catching newly hatched insects. The river rises with snow melt. Days grow longer and warmer. Mind the wind. Come in spring.
The sky is a deep, unreal blue. Days of heat and cooling rains. Swimming in the pond is like swimming in velvet. Bullfrogs croak bank to bank and it seems as though there’s songbird in every tree. Cholla cacti bloom magenta. Lightning splits the night during drenching rains, then comes the morning sun. So many hummingbirds… It’s light until 9 when the temperature drops with the sun. Turkey vultures carve slow arcs in the sky. August brings sunflowers, thunderheads, night hawks, and the scent of roasting chile. Come in summer.
The light changes and becomes saturated. Tones of deep gold drench the land. Mornings are cool and bright, afternoons warm. Sand hill cranes pass overhead, moving steadily south. The hummingbirds forsake their feeders. At night, rutting bull elk can be heard bugling in the valley. The chamisa turns a deep yellow and by mid-October the cottonwoods are ablaze. The air is so clear, objects so crisp in the long light. On the road, wood haulers pass every day now, their pickups loaded down with fuel for the coming cold. Come in fall.
Cows return to the river valley. At night, the sky prickles with stars, the Milky Way a gauzy belt of light arcing overhead. Snow squalls roll in from the north, depositing much needed moisture. The lower pond freezes and overwintering birds return to the feeders. All up the valley, tendrils of smoke from wood burning stoves suspend in the tight, cool air. The days are bright and short. Dark comes early. There’s time to read now, to take long walks and make soup. Come in winter.