Layers layers layers…

the leaves are changing...

Colorado is the land of layers! The temperature has been dropping here- almost a forty degree difference between day and night. This drop in temperature allows the trees to work their magic! There’s a tree up the street from our house that has three layers of color gracing its leaves. The top 1/3 of the tree is the color of caramelized cherries (never had caramelized cherries before, but I’m sure this is what they would look like), the bottom third is the color of the early morning sun, and the middle is a saturated mix of the two. The aspen are turning a deep golden color in town. Up in Rocky Mountain National Park, the aspen are layered in among the coniferous trees, popping up like little golden campfires in a sea of deep green. The clouds float as if suspended, layer upon layer, stretching overhead and beyond the mountains. The cloud-shadows roll around the valleys, pause, and then move on.

When I go to work I pause on the hill, squint and try to count the layers of mountains as they march toward the ocean (perhaps I miss the ocean a bit much, pretending it’s hiding on the western slope). I’ve counted up to twelve and then I let my eyes rest on the patches of snow up on the continental divide. Winter is coming. The seasons pile up on each other here in Colorado; crisp and clear January, cold wet rain in June, burning heat in September, snow in October. I wore a sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt, t-shirt and tank top all piled on each other this morning on the way to work. It was thirty-six degrees with frost on my windshield. By 11:00 am I was down to the tank top, noon rolled around and I was hot. I had to carry my layers home.

They roast green chiles here. Load up a barrel grill with big green chilies, turn on the flame and start that thing rolling. The peppers heat up and the skins pop, the smell of hot roasted chilies fills the air and the charred peppers come tumbling out. They are loaded in bags and boxes and carted off to be peeled and used for green chili soup and other tasty meals. You can witness this wonderful regional event anywhere from the farmer’s market to outside of Wal-Mart. I grew up in Nebraska (which, by the way, is only about 2 1/2 hours from here) and had never seen or smelled this wonderful fall event. Perhaps it’s the interesting mix of residents here in Colorado. We’ve lived here almost a year now and have only met a handful of native Coloradoans. This layering of people affords us a wonderful array of foods from around the world…or green chili soup with new potatoes shared over lunch with friends from Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa!

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