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Rumilluminations November, 2021
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Mon, November 01 2021 - 7:06 pm

November 29, 2021
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Another clear sunrise, serene as can be. This visit the sky has completely hidden the rising sun behind clouds or offered no cover at all. Today the sky is cloudless - good for traveling. Let's hope the roads are clear as the sky!

Yesterday we visited Mesilla, a town that was created during the creation of New Mexico as a state, I am told, in hopes of being a part of Mexico. It was not to be. Makes me wonder just how far from the border Mesilla is.

Hmmm...Wikipedia tells me Mesilla is located close to the center of Dona Ana county - a little far from the border that they hoped to lie south of. When we got there the church bells were pealing, but we ended the day celebrating the first day of Hanukkah.

An interesting day - more details to come!

November 27, 2021
Las Cruces, New Mexico

The mountains around Las Cruces are varied and gorgeous. Yesterday we hiked up to Dripping Springs. Of course I missed the drips and the springs, distracted by signs and barriers but there wasn't as much water as we had hoped, anyway. Instead we marvelled at the dramatic mountains, jutting rocks, historic buildings and golden grasslands abounding along this relatively short hike (a total of two or three miles from the parking lot, maybe.)

Today we spent a few highly entertaining hours at Farmers' Market, which had more artisans than farmers. As a break from all the tempting wares we stopped by the free nature museum (Woodhouse toads! Tiger salamanders! Alototoxyls?? Well, something like that anyway, introduced to my elder grandson by a videogame so he excitedly identified them immediately. Whatever the name, they are very cool amphibians that hang out in water with ornamental yet functional gills.)

There were many, many people there so we wore masks even though we were outside most of the time. Sunny day, ideal for hiking or outdoor shopping. We couldn't go wrong.

November 26, 2021
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Yesterday as we went on a Thanksgiving walk we had cold clouds and flowers, such tortuous bark on some trees in the neighborhood of our celebrating as I have never seen (except maybe once on what was little more than a stump? - can't remember. Is this is what old age is like? I have to qualify more statements than an attorney!)

My sole contribution to dinner was peeling some baked sweet potatoes and chopping a cup of pecans, but Wednesday I had spent an hour on applesauce because the apples were there.

The apples had come from the property of the friend of a friend who kept some and gave some to me (possibly among others). I made some applesauce, leaving the peels on - applemash? - and didn't make much of a dent in the boxful. Some of the applesauce went back to my friend and I ate about half.

Having trouble contemplating peeling and coring the rest of these very dimiscule (spoiler alert! This might be a new word) fruits I gave some away to a new friend. The rest I resolved to deal with before I left Silver City, and I did. I made more applesauce.

I wish I could tell you what kind of apples they were, because they made the sweetest unsweetened applesauce I have ever tasted. I suspect they came from an old tree, and most of them were yellow.

While we are on the subject of fruit, the last red grapes I bought at the Silver City Co-op were incredibly crisp, almost snapping back as you bit into them! I think they must be the Honey Crisps of the grape world. I wonder if that apple was the inspiration for hybridizers who decided to bring larger cells into the fruit of grapes, as had been done with apples. What other fruit would benefit from that kind of tinkering, I wonder?

...oh, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! 

November 21, 2021
Silver City, NM

Coming to the library to write the last couple of days I have heard ravens making funny noises. I don't know whether they are being intentionally playful and amusing or if that's just everyday ordinary raven talk.

Yesterday I saw a masked man with white hair picking up trash with a tool with pincers. I called him noble and he said he was a volunteer with Trash No Mas. They pick up trash once a month. When I was a girl I saw men cleaning the park lawns with poles with nail-like points at the ends, and I thought it looked like fun. Maybe I will join those volunteers.

Of course it's tempting to suggest other names. How about Basura No Murra? But of course that's just being a brat. Trash No Mas is obviously more understandable.
Yep, I'm going to try to join them.

November 20, 2021
Silver City, NM

Yesterday my friend and I went on a walk (I should say hike) intending to see the second largest alligator juniper in the country. The day was glorious, the Big Tree Trail was in the same general area as the Dragonfly Trail, and we didn't get lost. We just didn't quite have the time to go far enough to see the tree. Another day.

There was a lot of bird life around, and a tarantula and a very large, shiny, odd kind of bee-like insect walking down the path. We are mystified by the description of the trail as being "easy." Sure, you aren't hiking up a mountain, but poles are still desirable.

Let's put it this way: in a wild New Mexico context "easy" does not mean easy like walking down a brand new sidewalk or walking along a sandy beach.

The Gila National Forest is so big I'm not sure it would be possible for one person to ever walk all the trails available, but I hope my good-natured hiking companion is willing to tackle the Big Tree trail again someday.

November 18, 2021
Silver City, NM

This town is so full of interesting people. Yesterday I was on my way to walk Boston Hill ("cheaters" in hand) when I encountered a photographer. When I mentioned his camera he immediately launched into a rhapsody about the light and shadows to be captured early in the morning, and pointed out a detaiI had never noticed. I immediately resolved to get out early one of these mornings to capture the very interesting roof he had pointed out. Haven't done it yet, of course.

It turns out, though, that he also photographs people -impressively so. I know because he took my picture. I tried to return the favor but don't have the skills yet. He did give me a couple of tips about what he tries to attain. Maybe some day.

Since he wasn't shy about giving his name and telling me how to reach him on Facebook I don't think he will mind my telling you that his name is Frank Kenney and he is/was a photojournalist for many years. I couldn't call up his photos on Early Morning Silver City yet, but I will definitely try again. Maybe there is some necessary punctuation there that I missed.

The fun delay made me a little worried that I wouldn't get as much exercise as I wanted, but I got a decent walk in, using my blessed hiking poles. I needn't have been concerned; not only did I get my morning walk, but I also walked a couple of miles to Walgreens to get meds in the late afternoon. By the time I was almost home the sky was magical no matter which way I looked.

Early morning isn't the only visually rewarding time to be out-of-doors in Silver City!

November 17, 2021
Silver City, NM

Most Republicans want Trump to be the next Republican candidate?!

A dangerously high percentage of citizens still oppose vaccination mandates for public servants!?

The people have spoken, and they have said "Duh."

November 16, 2021
Silver City, NM

More exploration of the city resulted in a friend and I hiking some of the upper levels of the same route my other friend and I explored the other day. We didn't go nearly as far, though. That was my second walk of the day and I'm bushed.

More later... maybe.

November 15, 2021
Silver City, NM

Whew! That was a real weekend!

Saturday a friend and I went to the Gila Cliff Dwellings, a scenic but tortuous drive that makes you feel that you well deserve the sights you get to see. We did see a few folks walking the road. They really have earned whatever joys they experience! I got to see javelina for the first time ever. As we approached, three of them scrambled up from the warm, sunny ditch along the road where they were having a noontime rest and ran out of sight. That was on the way to the ruins.

The ruins themselves seemed in pretty good shape considering they are about eight hundred years old. The people living there stayed for only a couple of decades before they had to leave. They put in a lot of hard labor building the homes; it's too bad they couldn't get more use out of them. I guess there is evidence other groups passing through used them intransit , though. I wouldn't mind such a sturdy place for a stopover myself!

The way back my friend had to face the setting sun while she drove. She was exceptionally good-natured about that tiresome chore! Good company.

The next day, yesterday, another friend of mine and I had an adventure within the city limits: we walked the ditch from downtown to the Silver City Botanical Gardens. It was mostly not bad hiking at all, but there were some places that were so rocky that I almost fell three or times within about twelve feet! When will I learn to take my hiking poles (or 'cheaters' as one woman encountered on a different walk called them. She was being a little ironic as well as rueful, because on one hike she did break her ankle!)

I got lucky, but I do recommend that anyone with a balance problem take their poles. Even a slight balance offset can cause dangerous falls on a rocky path.

Because of my disinclination to face those rocks again without a long enough period in which to forget my close calls, we walked back on the city streets. It made me wonder how many riverbed routes there are to other attractions in town. No automotive encounters necessary!

November 12, 2021
Silver City, NM

I am so sorry, I can't repeat what the two mystery men told me about Silver City. Both of them are unreliable witnesses, I'm afraid. I knew I wouldn't repeat their stories, so I'm guilty of misleading my audience. My apologies.

What I will say, is that one of the two men felt Silver City was the worst town in the world, dominated by evil people, especially one family. How could I responsibly repeat such talk? I think this witness is mentally troubled.

The other individual had complaints about law enforcement. Bad luck he had, without a doubt. I took his story at face value, until...until under further interested questioning his answers just didn't compute.

Neither of them asked for money.

Who says Silver City isn't the best? Well, some people....

November 11, 2021
Silver City, NM

My rhapsodizing about Dragonfly Trail did not include a report by a local citizen that the place it leads to was really a place used by many different tribes as they passed through the location, not the possession of only one tribe. I haven't seen anything about its history at all. I've never even seen the petroglyphs!

I really did love the area, though, and afterwards realized that it has the same open feel of a bowl surrounded by mountains that Silver City itself possesses, just on a different scale.

I have been reporting in as upbeat a style as possible, but I have met two men in two days who have totally opposite views of the place. More tomorrow!

November 10, 2021
Silver City, NM

So, the Dragonfly Trail is delightful. The petroglyphs will have to wait for another day. The trail begins and ends with sandy level walking through grasses higher than I usually associate with New Mexico, dotted with small evergreens I didn't identify except for a couple of good-sized alligator junipers. The sky and mountains were gorgeous.

It did get rocker and harder to navigate as we got closer to the river, but was gorgeous all the way. Leave a lot of time to walk the trail, though. The sunset was spectacular but we didn't want to get caught walking the trail with nothing but our cell phones for light!

I still don't know what river we saw.

November 9, 2021
Silver City, NM

Yesterday my friend and I went in search of the Dragonfly trail. It turned out to be a little more difficult than we expected because of bad directions obtained on the Internet. (!)

The directions we obtained told us to turn off Highway 180 onto Casa Loma. Don't do it! The adventure you will experience is not the one you anticipate, although it is kind of curious to encounter a dirt road with a sign on it saying, "NOT DRAGONFLY ROAD."

If you have the misfortune to make the wrong turn, go back to Highway 180 and turn left. The road you want is  called Arenas. Turn left onto it and it will be easy to find the trail.

As for the trail itself - tomorrow!

November 8, 2021
Silver City, NM

Well, Taskmaster (me), I didn't write Friday because I was wiped from the coronavirus booster. I felt okay, just tired tired tired. (I wonder if that big honking hunk of Spanakopita I bought from Diane's Bakery after I had the shot had anything to do with that.) It crossed my mind that I should only eat half, but well, you know all about those glancing thoughts. I ate it all. It was very good, but I wonder how early you have to arrive at the bakery in the a.m. to get it hot?

Anyway, it was tempting enough that I finished it off cold. So who knows, I might have been sluggish Friday even without the booster. All that yummy filo pastry! I got as far as the mailbox that day.

The next day, Saturday, Taskmaster, I think I was just forgetful. No big errands for my excuse, just walking' around with a friend, seeing' the sights. When I did think of writing after visiting another possible friend (I mean, how can you resist stopping by the little cottage of someone who has paid you the divine compliment of calling you a "lovely carcass?")


He and I chatted on the patio for a little while. He complained about my use of the f-word, calling it "unflavorful."  Unflavorful? I think the word fuck has a lot of flavor! This criticism from a very outspoken, provocative someone who called me a carcass! Hahaha!

Maybe the whole day was just a little too scattered to inspire much desire to write. I really do try to dwell on the positive.

And nyah nyah nyah, Taskmaster, yesterday was Sunday so I could plead a day of rest. (It wasn't. I walked around town a lot, talked to people, and had a lot of fun.) This is easy to do in Silver City, folks! I encourage you to come here, enjoy the sun, spend the while day out in it, and watch the sunset from a hilltop!

November 4, 2021
Silver City, NM

Today while I was at the laundromat I decided to try to schedule a Covid booster for myself. I managed to do it in spite of the fact that I did not have a pen or paper to record my confirmation code, which was as long as the alphabet. Too bad, I figured. I bet.I won't. Need it to get the shot.

Turns out, I didn't. In fact, I needn't have bothered to make the appointment. There was a long line of walk-ins. 

I take that back. When I arrived on the scene there were maybe eight people in front of me. When I finished my wait, then there was a long line! I feel for the employees of health care agencies these days.

While many other states are having fewer cases of Covid, New Mexico numbers are increasing. Folks, get your vaccines!

You can credit yourself with having saved a life or two by doing so.

Well, odds are....

November 3, 2021
Silver City, NM

When I flew to Albuquerque recently - the only passenger on a plane that seats eight - the pilot warned me that it wouldn't be the same on my return trip.

He was right. There were two of us. Now I am thankful that Enterprise pulled out of town. If I had been able to rent a car, I would not have even looked into flying as an option. Little did I know what a wonderful option flying could be! Now I have no plans to go to Albuquerque any other way. Beautiful as the scenery is, I have seen it a few times, and Advanced Airlines has made flying as pleasant as it can possibly be, which is very pleasant indeed.

Today a friend and I hiked to the summit of Boston Hill, which is over 6,000 feet in altitude. We were too late to see any birds or wildlife (or we were too busy watching our footing) but this bear finally got to see what she could see on the other side of the mountain. Not a lot of city that far west, but it's wonderful to know Silver City really is almost entirely surrounded by mountains.

Sure, from this distance the mountains aren't as rugged, imposing, or spectacular as those in, say, Boulder Colorado, but neither do they oppressively block out the light. Unlike Colorado we don't yet have snow-capped peaks, but that gives me all the more to look forward to.

Yay, Silver City! Your treacherous goatheads aren't enough to put me off.

November 1, 2021
Albuquerque, NM

Today, All Saints’ Day, is not a holiday my folks celebrated, but I never forgot the fires on the mountains we saw the night before (what we would call Halloween) driving to San Blas, Mexico. Whether this happens in Silver City, New Mexico I do not know and will not find out this year, but I have noticed quite a plethora of artistic references to Day of the Dead around town. Maybe I should hang around home next year to see what happens; I could walk past the local cemeteries and see what I could see.

Participating in Halloween last night for the first time in over a decade was fun, though. It’s hard to believe the Day of the Dead, with thoughts and references to specific family members, pairs well with the wild if childish abandon to pursuit of goodies that is Halloween.

In fact, I believe part of the attraction of Halloween to childish me was its lack of association with any religious or even serious purpose. We ran around the neighborhood, sans parents, turned lose to knock on strangers’ doors for treats - a child’s dream.

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