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Summer season winding down

Summer as we know it in the newspaper business is swiftly coming to a close, as fall sports and the band are days within kicking off their respective seasons with two-a-day drills.

Soon to be followed by the crazy first days of a new school year.

And this summer has been quick and weird and mostly wonderful. As opposed to last year, when this area averaged five degrees hotter than normal. This year, it was much wetter, and I bet 10 degrees below normal much of the time.

The landscape of Texas certainly agreed with the weather this summer, for the most part. Aside from the areas hammered with flooding, the rest of the Lone Star state received welcome and plentiful rains, and is greener than I’ve ever seen it before in July.

That was evidenced even more so by a trip through the Panhandle last week and to the wonderful world of Ruidoso, NM.

The uncut prairie around Aspermont and Post is more green than brown. The fields of beans and barley near Brownfield are in full bloom as huge water sprinklers sit quietly at the edges, with nothing much to do.

Heck, even the no-man’s land west of Roswell looked inviting this time around.

I don’t know if it’s the weather or the inevitable effects of aging, but my frame of mind was different for this summer’s West Texas Press Association convention.

Instead of year’s past, when my convention priorities centered around the golf tournament and the food and the after-hours bar hopping, this year I was more engaged in the networking part of the convention, and the work I do on the board of directors.

And then, of course, the golf, food, drinking and gambling, all of which are prominently available at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

Those Mescalaro Apaches know how to put on a good show.

I know many of you travel – some even regularly – to that patch of land in New Mexico. It has a year-round appeal with the warm days and cool evenings of the summer, and a winter wonderland come December.

Would I live there? Sure I would.

At the same time, it’s a theraputic place to visit, even for a few days. There’s something about having to dress up with a few layers in the morning to stay warm as you take your coffee on the balcony, the mountains slowly taking shape with an unhurried sun yawning itself awake for a new day.

More light reveals slivers of fog skimming along the lake top, and the dense evergreen begins to sparkle from the top down and it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop a mile away until the birds come out to feed.

It is times like this I feel so overwhelmed by the majesty of such a place, and so insignificant to its making.

And so privileged to have its beauty revealed to me.

Yep. A good time was had in Ruidoso. Our newspaper – your newspaper – did well in the annual Better Newspaper Contest. We at the Leader are collectively pleased, but also renewed with the challenge and committment to make our paper even better.
It was a good time in Ruidoso, and it is good to be back home.

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