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Last night (Friday) marked the changing of the air. It always comes on one particular day. I noted it by spreading the blue-and-black plaid fleece on top of my green comforter—not yet time for the winter duvet, but the summer one was not enough. And I put on my long-sleeved red pajama top and pushed the windows mostly closed. This morning I opened all the curtains to let the light warm the rooms, after keeping them closed for summer coolness. I set about boiling pots of water for a ritual lavender bath to greet the autumn chill. Autumn is here.

More than thirty years ago I worked in the kitchen garden of the yoga school in southern Sweden, perhaps turning compost, perhaps cutting nettles for tea. It was a sunny morning, but it was that particular day. August 8, so far north, and I said to myself then, “It’s autumn now.”

My friends the spiders are coming inside, scuttling across floors and counters, looking for a corner to build a winter web. Outdoors, the little striped lizards with turquoise tails zip away, reveling in their final runabouts. Sunflowers shout their last hurrahs. Chamisa blooms now, after waiting down here in the valley; we waited on the changing of the air together. Some trees are starting to turn—the bays, mostly. They begin to bring out the best New Mexico color—yellow gold. Red chile ristras are being sold, and I will buy one soon for one of my blue porch posts. The skies are bluer than ever and crisp. Today they are ridden by the great hot-air balloons. My first day of autumn, as it happens, is the first one of our International Fiesta.

I can wear a plaid flannel shirt now as a light jacket, shedding it and throwing it around my neck like a scarf when the day turns warm. Today I wore the navy one with its thick red and green lines when I walked to the Downtown Growers Market. All along the streets of my neighborhood I passed walkers with their dogs, carrying bags empty and full—coming and going to market. My first buy was a little basket of small Fuji apples from Chimayo. Then a brilliant red bell pepper to decorate my Danablu cheese on Wasa crackers; four squashes—two of deep, dark green and two of gold; a little bag of washed and now dry arugula, which is very important for keeping long enough to eat. I felt pleased, knowing I will have enough this week. I looked at the bright orange pumpkins and decided to wait until next week to set one on my porch.

Autumn is here.

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