Autumn in Northern New Mexico

My mother never passed by

a colorfully decked out roadside fruit stand

without stopping to buy something

from the bright array of juicy apples

plump pumpkins and piquant chile peppers.

The allure was in the vibrancy of colors

and unmistakable aroma of fresh melons,

dirt from the field, and newly sawn lumber

from which the stands were constructed,

wobbly yet able to bear the weight of succulent bounty.

The stops were chilly shopping in the open air

with a backdrop of plowed fields,

trees turning golden and dropping leaves like confetti,

ristras glistening in the sun peppery red and lush,

while green chiles roasted in turning barrels over a hot flame.

The smells made me hungry to the bone

thinking about what Mom would do with

all that good stuff from the good earth,

enchiladas, tacos, rellanos, beans and chile

and cornbread sprinkled with chile and kernels of fresh corn.

Autumn’s favor comes in memories of home and hearth,

reflections excited by the heat of an oven baking a surprise

fresh from the field and made with love,

Memories awash with happiness interwoven with time

and a yearning to go back… if only for a little while.

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