Originally uploaded by heinemanfleck.

The artist L. Heineman made the decorations for our Thanksgiving table today in the manner of the season. We’ve a big feast planned, which is both cultural ritual obligation and genuine fun.

This is an interesting time of year in a desert culture both removed from environmental but also steeped in it. Here in Albuquerque, we pump groundwater to drink and bathe and cook and irrigate our modest backyard crops. So it doesn’t matter a whole lot whether it rains or not. But we still live in the rhythm of the seasons, or at least I do – thinking back on the harvest season past and watching for the season to come with the same fascination as a dryland farmer. I may not have the same skin in the game, so maybe it’s not precisely the same, but it is a fascination.

Fall – now – is a time of anticipation. El Niño is out there, but he’s not doing much teleconnecting just yet, so the storm track has been north. The snow pack is modest so far down here. It’s not too early to pay attention, but it’s too early to make much of the shortage.

So today we’ll gather and feast on a bounty that really has little or nothing to do with the actual vicissitudes of climate. We’d be having the same big fat turkey, drought or not. But I still watch.