Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year !

Hauoli Makahiki Hou from Sierra County!

I'm a beach kid. What do I know from “winter”? In California it gets colder but by and large, the leaves stay on the trees, right where they're intended to stay. How can you tell winter has come to the beach? The storms come in & wash out the sand, leaving the coastline, well, beach-less. That and there's no fog in the mornings, unlike the Spring, Summer & Fall where you're pretty much socked in from sun up till noon.

In Hawai'i, you know winter has arrived when you feel the need to put a blanket on your bed or wear long pants in the mornings when the temperature dips to a chilly 70 degrees. And if that system of seasonal reckoning fails, just look to the ocean. The surfers wear wet suits, which is mighty confusing to a shark seeing as how if they see something black & sleek moving through the surf really fast, that means “dinner”. Seriously. Most of the shark attacks in Hawai'i take place in the winter, on surfers wearing wet suits. Can't blame the sharks, they have the perfect defense: “well officer, it's like this. I thought Keoki there was a seal. Sorry about the leg, dude! My bad!”

Given this life experience, winter in New Mexico was something of a shock. This said, winter is something I've grown to love. On January 22, 2007, it snowed about 8-10 inches in Truth or Consequences. Not being clued in on the concept of “snow days”, I went to work. Which was fine, until I tried to drive home, up Foch Street, and my van slid sideways down the hill. Nonetheless, it was one of the best days I'd ever had at work. Sure, the cat was thoroughly baffled by the cold white stuff clinging to her fur – but she learned MUCH faster than I did. When it's cold, she stays inside. I, on the other hand, love to stand out outside & breathe the crisp air. And then I go back inside the nice warm toasty house.

At our December Tourism Board meeting, Catherine Wanek from the Black Range Lodge in Kingston ( announced that the first snow of the season had fallen the night before. No longer fearing the cold white stuff, I grabbed the trusty camera & headed out to Kingston. Pete Fust, co-owner of the Lodge, put me in his van & we went out to enjoy the snow in the Gila National Forest. I envy Catherine & Pete. They live in some of the most beautiful country in America, if not the world. They have a forest at their doorstep. They have a historic lodge where they bake their own bread and make their own ice cream. If you visit, be sure & get there in the late morning when the bread is still warm from the oven & they have LOTS of butter to slather all over the bread. It is the closest thing to heaven that I've ever experienced.

So there you have it. The beach kid loves winter in New Mexico. Who knew?
Happy New Year!
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