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Rumilluminations July, 2021
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Thu, July 01 2021 - 4:23 pm

July 31, 2021
Silver City, NM

One thing I made sure of before I moved to Silver City was that there was a car rental place - Enterprise, no less, which at least used to come pick you up at home so you could more easily rent their cars. Cool, huh?

While I was talking to one of the couples I met yesterday I mentioned how convenient everything is here. If I want to go anywhere distant I can always rent a car.

"Good luck with that," said one of my new neighbors. "Enterprise just closed..."

I heard no more.

Dang! I hope the local buses rumored to go to Deming two days a week (only two days a week Wednesday and Thursday!) are still running. By my calculations it would take me five days to walk there.

Reminds me of the travels of Marco Polo I am reading about. He measures the distances between cities in days.

And that is with camels!

July 30, 2021
Silver City, NM

Silver City is very friendly, evidently. On the way to - and at - a garage sale where I thought I might find a book case, I met over half a dozen cordial, welcoming  individuals.

Someone mentioned a twelve-inch snow last winter. Zowie! It is treacherous underfoot here already, what with unexpected stairs. Here the sun is bright and the air is dry, so snow might be easy come, easy go.

Speaking of the sun coming, I peeked through the miniblinds at the sunrise this morning and just caught it rising over a mountain. Nothing to impede my view of the sunrise here except the mountain itself. I will have to look out for sunrise more often.

But why didn't its disc look bigger by the horizon, like it does in the evening, and as the moon does?

July 29, 2021
Silver City, NM

When I researched Silver City with regards to coronavirus I saw that Madison, Indiana (Jefferson County) had had roughly twice as many deaths per capita as Grant County, New Mexico. I thought this spoke volumes about the difference in attitude in the two counties - or maybe about their relative isolation. Big city folk definitely have to come farther to be tourists in Silver City.

It's interesting to me that so many places require masks if you're unvaccinated, but never except in airports (in my experience) ask for proof. Aren't the same people who scoff at masks the same people who scoff at vaccines and rules? I don't blame those who don't challenge their fellow citizens, though, because the people who scoff at pandemics are sometimes scofflaws who aren't above killing their fellow citizens. If the pandemic doesn't get you, maybe they will.

Most of the folks around here seem pretty good-natured and mellow to me. I don't know many individuals yet, but the overall atmosphere seems benevolent in spite of the fact that Silver City is still struggling financially.

And the air! So clean and dry! As long as we can escape the threat of forest fires, that is, and recent rains protect us for now. I think the plants around my building are three or four inches taller than they were a week ago.

July 28, 2021
Silver City, NM

Last night I escaped the storm which turned out to be only a light rain anyway where I live.

Although I have been in Silver City a little over a month I still can't pretend I'm organized. I have yet to find some health care providers, which I intend to do today. Ha, ha, when I was young it didn't even cross my mind to line up a healthcare professional before I needed care.

In fact, if I had waited much longer I might not have moved. It's kind of scary to leave providers you like!
An insurance agent said something reassuring, though: she said once you reach a certain age in relatively good health, you tend to do well thereafter.

Alas, I don't know what age that is - only that I've reached it.

Right now I'm sitting in front of the public library which has a sculpture of a split man in a derby in the front yard. I find it a little unsettling. On the one hand it could be considered an invitation to open one's mind. On the other hand, the man is split to the bottom of the piece, which is a bust.

This work of art seems to me to convey a mixed message. Of course, that doesn't necessarily make it a bust, (heh) but I am inspired to find out more about its creator.

July 27, 2021
Silver City, NM

Yikes! No sooner do I head to the library than the air quickens and it looks as if the storm that was predicted for an hour ago might be breaking to the north. Hmm...can't tell if that rumbling is thunder or just traffic.

I am not helped by knowledge of prevailing winds because I don't have any. I don't even know if Silver City even has any, although the breezes around here seem pretty good at licks and swirls. Very stirring, rather than flattening - I hope.

Today I have spent mostly choring, but my little home is better for it. My sister kindly brought me a little table my family used to eat at. Maybe 74 is the new four!

July 25, 2021
Silver City, NM

My sister and I just went to the Tranquil Buzz and had some coffee, officially off a limits to me but perhaps no worse than dark chocolate for me, which I indulge in almost every day. This place seems tranquil enough and it certainly is full of curiosity-inducing collections of books, instruments, games, and all sorts of other inducements to stay a while. (I won't mention the temptations like pastries.) It looks as if entertainment happens there often, but the shop is a present I intend to open slowly, since I have moved to town and plan to stay awhile.

As of this morning I can confirm here the presence of hairy woodpecker in my neighborhood. Of robins I have seen not a trace yet. The ubiquitous specie around here seems to be a near relative or hybrid of the mourning dove, whose call is sometimes more robust than the mourning doves I have heard elsewhere.

Sometimes their calls are so aggressive that in the early morning it sounds as if they are trying to imitate roosters!

We saw the moon this morning lovely with a backdrop of sky matching the color of its craters. No wonder people could imagine it holey, like a slice of Swiss cheese.

After all the rain yesterday which ran down the street in rivers and soaked our clothing and waterproof sandals, today so far is sunny.

The hard rain lasted a couple of hours (!) but we had shelter for part of it at the museum on the campus of Western New Mexico University, which has a  exhibit of mostly Mimbres pottery that has fanciful designs that might have been an inspiration for Dr. Seuss. (Truthfully though, the same thing might be said of the gargoyles and grotesques of cathedrals here and abroad. Oh Dr. Seuss, where did you wander?)

July 23, 2021
Silver City, NM

It occurred to me as I was walking home from the library that I had walked as far as I could along one road I live on and hadn't even thought yet about walking as far as possible up the other.

Of course, I realized, this was because I couldn't see very far at first; there's too much hill in the way. I only noticed when I looked backward from a different location that the this street extends farther than I thought.

Strange the artificial barriers our minds set up for us sometimes - or maybe our lazy bodies!

July 22, 2021
Silver City, NM

Blushing because Bruce Lamb wrote about Kid Curry, not Billy the Kid. Now I'll have to read his whole book again, evidently. Like kids, outlaws are not interchangeable.

Missed a couple of days because I am still settling in to my little apartment. Moving takes time, big-time.

This morning I went back to Boston Hill Open, entering from a different entrance, of which there are five or six. I mostly just came back to the Spring St. entrance, and the hike still took one hour forty minutes. I'm trying to get familiar with the place but I'm a little nervous that new paths will keep appearing to confuse me. A person can get a little fuddled (meaning lost) even in a small space. Luckily in this area we hikers have views of the city below to help orient us.

Today I came upon a snake relaxing completely across the path. A rattlesnake? I was glad I was watching my footing. He was four feet away.

I tried to look him in the eye. His pupils looked more round than slitted. His pattern looked less well-defined than a rattlesnake's. In fact, were those diamonds at all? I inspected his length - seemed like a good four feet. I wasn't sure, but I didn't see any rattles.

Some hikers whom I alerted to his presence thought he might be a bull snake. I looked him up online and I am inclined to agree. Still, I think earlier in the morning is a better time of day to walk there than when the sun is high. Or do snakes take refuge when it gets hot, like me? So much to learn, such as - were the sweet cottontail rabbits I saw at possible risk from that path hog once he warmed up?

Even I didn't just step over him as if he were a branch. I left the path to avoid him and looked back from ten feet away.

He flicked his tongue at me. I wonder; did I smell edible?

July 19, 2021
Silver City, NM

Coming from doing some banking, I thought I would stop by the Visitors Center again. From afar it looked like a log cabin. Weird. The Center is ornamented with colorful tile.

As I got closer I saw there is a log cabin on site - a location where Billy the Kid lived! The log cabin is a reproduction of Billy's home made for the movie The Missing and donated by its director, Ron Howard. It is open for viewing and is even furnished (more than my current apartment, sadly.) It's very gloomy and the furnishings are barred off from visitors in a way that for an instant you feel that you are entering a jail. I will have to look into Bruce Lamb's book and see what Billy the Kid experienced in Silver City.

Approaching the Center from the rear you encounter a very small courtyard area with grotesques by someone named Ho Baron. If you take to his work he has a whole garden of his sculptures in El Paso, Texas.

Nearby the Visitors Center are warnings not to try camping here. It is that pleasant.

July 18, 2021
Silver City, NM

The Makers' Market had live entertainment, I forgot to say. There was a woman singing in Spanish and a  man accompanying himself on guitar. Both drew applause.

The vendors included an amazing cheese maker, I was told, but by the time I became aware of that I had spent all the money I had with me. I am looking forward to next week!

This morning I was awakened before dawn by a strange whooping call reminiscent of a whipoorwill in timbre but very different melodically, if you can refer to such a short phrase a melody.  I will have to find some nature group here that will help me to identify plants and wildlife. For all I know, it could have been a human!

At 6:00 a.m. I went to Boston Hill again. I get a little farther each time. This morning I reached The Bench! Actually as it turns out there are supposed to be three bench sites according to the map, but one marked was definitely not there. Ha, ha, I wonder if acknowledging a good view is the origin of the word "benchmark?"

At any rate, this time I didn't even sit down. The view was better standing.

I have not yet been able to see a 360 degree view of the horizon from Boston Hill. Maybe it's just not set up that way.

In fact, I have yet to see a sunset here but saw a gorgeous reflection of one last night from my east-facing apartment.

Maybe tonight I will get out at the right time, but with my early start today, maybe not!

July 17, 2021
Silver City, NM

Came to the Visitor Center to pick up a map of Boston Hill Hiking and Biking Trails (Thank you, Grant County Advocacy Group!) and now I'm taking advantage of this chance to get online. Hot, but if you go down Bullard Street or along the ditch walk it is shady most of the way. Available here are the first picture postcards I've seen so far in Silver City. Too bad I am out of cash; they don't take credit cards.

This building is highly ornamented with colorful tile murals and the announcement that Silver City is a gateway to the great Continental Divide. How exciting that is!

The Makers' Market complete with clay artists exhibiting their wares as part of the yearly clay festival was wonderful to see also.

There's also a Farmers' Market here in Silver City on Saturday mornings, but with the Co-op so close to home, who knows when I will manage to get to that? Maybe when it is cooler....

July 16, 2021
Silver City, NM

Hanging out by the library. It is surprisingly cool and acts as if it might rain, so I guess I won't have time to get on Facebook tonight.

To tell the truth, while I'm reading Dataclysm online I'm tempted never to get on Facebook again. The Internet thinks it knows everything about me (us) and that irritates me mightily.

While in Madison, I used to frequently climb the hill up to the Hillside Inn. I often wondered if people who did not know me well thought I was keeping assignations at the Inn, but I figured if they really cared they could see I was not near the hotel for more than half a minute.

The Internet, however, is not so astute. A couple of days before I left I got a message from some reviewing function that said, How did you like the Hillside Inn?

Grrr. Oh, I just love walking by their sometimes stinky old dumpster.

Gotta go, it's really looking like rain! Unpredicted rain, I think.

July 15, 2021
Silver City, NM

This morning I walked again on Boston Hill. This time I saw some low but beautiful Datura. There was a roadrunner lurking around them, a high-contrast young run with a glossy black crest.

When I came closer to the flowers I noticed some of them had holes in them, so on my way back down I checked them out for my insect life the roadrunner might have been after. I saw one spider, and wondered if the bird had been catching spiders.

If so, I wonder, how do those poisonous flowers affect birds?

July 14, 2021
Silver City, NM

The other day I saw a bird that looked exactly like a brown Thrasher except it was gray, so I looked up gray thrasher and saw the bird I was looking for - Bendire's Thrasher. I have never seen one before. None of the other illustrations came close.

Bendire's Thrashers are found in the American Southwest. Perfect. The only trouble is, they are supposed to like open country like desert, whereas I saw it right here in Silver City. It isn't described as a bird of the suburbs.

No matter. I've seen a bluefooted Booby on the wall of the lighthouse in Newport, Oregon. I didn't believe my own eyes, but an hour or two later I heard folks making a big deal of it. I also saw a varied thrush in Santa Fe which wasn't supposed to be there.

A flock of willets was in Madison after a storm when? I don't remember but I wrote about it at the time.

Why not a Bendire's Thrasher in Silver City, New Mexico?

I'm sure there are all sorts of new and notable phenomena here; it is such a cool place.

July 13, 2021
Silver City, NM

Yesterday I got out early enough to see a big red sun. It must have been caused by the dustup from the night before, which was crazy windy with lots of lightning. I lay in bed and watched the tree outside my window toss. Very exciting!

This morning I decided to explore along the river. I wish I had done it sooner, because a bridge across the ditch gave me a great shortcut to the laundromat and the post office. Half the distance. Now I will feel guilt putting mail in the mailbox for pickup.

One charming thing about the walk is that on one side of the ditch it is paved with a barrier and railing but the other side is a dirt path; the choice is yours.

It is good news that the library does not need to be open for me to get online here. I can get here early to keep cool, and still find a hotspot.

July 11, 2021
Silver City, New Mexico

Am sitting in the Javalina coffee shop drinking a very fine (and forbidden to me) cafe latte. I passed it early this morning and its lights and decor had a magical quality. Now in the higher sun its appearance is different, but completely appropriate for a java hangout and the author of (ahem) the zanypiglet stories.

I went to the Boston Open area, but not until I mistakenly invaded private property and almost fell a couple of times, it was so rugged. If I had worn sandals I would definitely have had a fall. So be warned! Go a few steps out of your way to begin right. I'm afraid at my age I will never learn but there's still hope for you.

Since I went the wrong way at first I did not get very far on the right path which has a surface  much easier to navigate. I'm told it is very steep - all the better for my purpose. Dedicated strollers like me need a climb to get the heart to accelerate at all.

One of the paths of the Open claims to be the highest point around, so I am looking forward to attaining it one of these days. I've got to get acclimated after a twenty years' absence (barring visits) from mountain country. Maybe next time I will be able to see how far the crow would have to fly to get up here from my new home, which I could not spot today.

Am I glad to be here? You bet. The heat is definitely noticeable, but since it is dry it is not so uncomfortable and ennervating and positively dangerous - if you're carrying water - as more humid environments.

I want my water inside - not outside!

Speaking of which - we had a thunder and lightning storm during the night, but no rain. Let's see what happens today. I do want some water outside - please!

July 10, 2021
Silver City, NM

I am again at the Silver City Library, and delighted to find my previous connection maintained outside! Very breezy and cool here, plus if I want to see a video that makes noise or music I don't have to worry so much about disturbing someone.

When I came home this morning from an exploratory walk I found a piece of wood on my living room floor and the transom window closed. The wood had been propping open the transom. It may have been accidental (although I don't see how) but I had been concerned about making too much noise anyway. Problem solved. I will just have to open two windows for cross ventilation.

There are some biological marvels here for someone who has never lived this far South. Four inch dark brown nonpoisonous scorpions (I only have seen dead on the sidewalk) more mysterious bird calls, a exceedingly large and ruffled pomegranate blossom, and more colors of ice plant flowers than I have seen before.

I walked toward a dead end on C Street that I hoped would provide a path to the hills and one of the open spaces that I have seen on the maps, but alas, it was private property. No egress that way.

Every night at one hour or another someone is setting off firecrackers, but on my walk this morning all I heard was a weed-whacker.


July 9, 2021
Silver City, NM

Here I am at the Silver City Library, about five blocks from my new home. This is the first time I have logged in from here, and I am happy to report that the whole library is a hot spot!

Right now the whole city is very warm outside but is nice and cool in here. My family visits are over for now and I have some basic organization in my apartment so I am set up for now.

When we first came to the city in late June we saw a whole row of fabulous century plants, a couple of which were blooming. They are supposed to bloom an average of once every seventeen years so I wondered if the owners of the property had planted seventeen. They had, or close to it! There were a few more, but they seemed to be babies.

The other day I saw a bird fly onto a telephone wire and start singing a song I had never heard before. At first I thought it was a mockingbird imitating a bunch of unknown (to me) species, but I kept an eye on it and its behavior screamed, I am a flycatcher! A very energetic one, too.

We went to Rock City day before yesterday and the grandkids especially enjoyed clamboring on the rocks. Rock City is a New Mexico State Park where camping is permitted. There weren't too many folks there (you would probably encounter more in the Spring and Fall) but it was the perfect temperature while we were there. The rock formations were most interesting and there were one or two big boulders that looked very precarious balancing on their pedestals. No camping sites beneath them, thank goodness.

We saw a storm approaching from afar so there was plenty of time to leave the park before the rain came. It hit us in the car on the way home, but at least we stayed dry.

July 5, 2021
Albuquerque, NM

After having missed out on crepes (in spite of promises in the menus of multiple restaurants) for decades, I had crepes two days in a row, in Limonada on Silver Street here in Albuquerque, and at the French Pastry Shop at La Fonda in Santa Fe. They were both wonderful.

In fact, I have had more pleasurable in-restaurant dining here in New Mexico in one week than I had in years in the small town of Madison, Indiana.

Part of that is because Albuquerque and Santa Fe are larger towns. Another part of it is obviously because the coronavirus pandemic kept us from eating out at all. (We did get good carry-out often from the Chinese restaurant on the corner of Main and West streets just a couple of blocks from our apartment, though.)

 In Albuquerque, Vietnam 2000, Buddai, Farm to Table, The Taj, Pho, and the Barelas Cafe, have among others, provided us with wonderful and varied dining experiences for our past week of pretending we are rich.

Along with the size of the cities presenting wonderful fare, the multicultural nature of New Mexico has made treating ourselves this way possible.

Fortunately the fact that I can't keep up spending a small fortune on my gluttony will compensate for the loss of all the wonderful restaurants here.

Tomorrow I depart for my new small town, Silver City, where I will only gradually learn the culinary delights it has to offer.

I will be writing more about the other cultural and natural offerings a new town and environment have to offer, rather than the expensive delights offered at the table.

Getting settled will be the highest priority with me for a while. Have patience.

July 2, 2021
Albuquerque, NM

Went on a beautiful drive to the Sandwich Crest for a hike but were put off by rain and hail. No problem - we went back down a couple of thousand feet down the mountain to a picnic and hiking trail area where it wasn't raining. It would be a perfect location for the entire family to get together sometime.

The view from the crest was even better than I remembered - lots of rocky crags. The view from the picnic ground was good. It was in the other direction.

The Greenside Cafe was very good. It generously let us share a meal without charging us extra. Each plate looked like a complete order!

Now we're off to dinner for a farm to table meal. This is exciting!

July 1, 2021
Albuquerque, NM

My goodness, where did June go?

I guess it disappeared into obsession with moving, packing for moving, the actual insane drive across country, and the excitement of seeing family.

Today I walked downtown and was kind of disappointed to see the prosperity of the downtown seems to have taken a step or two back since I was last here.

Businesses have closed and one large building (or row of them) is completely condemned. Of course that might have happened a decade ago and I just didn't know it.

The Galeria Plaza, which I was pleased to see the last time I was here, seemed like a ghost town this morning when I walked through after eleven o'clock. I didn't see anyone who seemed to intend to stay for a while. I couldn't see any window displays and a lunch room was closed. I was tired and warm enough not to want to bother to go over to the windows and peer in.

There were coffee shops, of course, and bars that might be open later, but after seeing the hopping activity uptown I was kind of disappointed with the seedinees downtown.

I did get deflected from staying on Central by walking for a block or two on Park. Downtown Java Joe is still there, and on my way back on Tijeras I saw some people laughing at an outside table at a cafe.

Life goes on for most of us, but I guess some businesses, sadly, just got killed by the coronavirus.

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