It's also one of New Mexico's under-appreciated gifts to the rest of the country. A low-pressure circulation moves east from the Pacific coast off Baja California. The air mass picks up moisture from the Sea of Cortez and carries it over southern New Mexico, where it interrupts our routine with a day or two of snow that makes us all very happy because we know it will vanish by tomorrow.
The system chugs past us to deliver snow and truck-tipping wind along Interstate 40 in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The storm still doesn't drop much precipitation, but even a little blowing snow can mess up someone's holiday travel.
Traversing the vast Texas countryside, the system picks up steam from the Gulf of Mexico. As it draws a bead on the eastern seaboard, it sucks colder air from up north, stirs itself vigorously in a counterclockwise direction, and emerges as an ice storm over the lucky citizens of the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Tea Party activists no doubt rejoice, since nothing can shut down the federal government like an ice storm--but so far as I know, nobody ever credits New Mexico for this meterological benefaction. Not that New Mexicans are troubled by this, you understand.
We sit happily in our treeless flatland, enjoying our two inches of snow, our electric grid intact, warm and snug in our earthships, lolling in honeyed sunbeams that pour through our passive solar windows, oblivious to the anguish occuring to our east.
It's not that we're indifferent to your pain; we're just enchanted and oblivious. On behalf of New Mexicans to you who are the unwitting recipients of our southwestern Christmas present, please be careful.