Everyone has a favorite time of year, I suppose, and mine, hands-down, is fall. I can't even explain why, or how, it stirs and invigorates me, every year, when the leaves begin to turn and the morning air turns nippy. Maybe it's because I've been on some sort of academic calendar - whether as a student, a teacher, a school volunteer, a teacher-certifier, or a university staff member - for 47 years; so, to me, fall means, a new beginning. Or maybe it's because fall is a precursor to the holiday season, which I love. Or, maybe it's that the colors, the smells and the tastes of the season are simply delicious.
In Albuquerque, I've come to recognize a new sign of the season, for it's in the fall when they harvest and roast the chilis. You can go to a supermarket or a farmers' market, buy your favorite variety of fresh chilis, and take them out to the parking lot, where someone will roast them for you.
Yesterday, for the first time this season, even before I stepped out of the car, I smelled the pungent aroma of roasting chilis. That's when I realized that I must actually be a New Mexican at last, because the smell of the chilis signaled inside me the coming of fall.