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Rumilluminations January, 2022
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sat, January 01 2022 - 6:01 pm

January 31, 2022
Silver City, NM

If I had written on this day I would have written about Cross Mountain Trail. I had been on Cross Mountain Road before, but this time went much farther, and lo and behold saw an off-road trail with the name of Cross Mountain.

This was a surprise. I thought the road was so named because it crossed a mountain. Turns out that is the name of the mountain itself! What's more, my friend looked up the trail on the phone and we discovered that it would take us to the summit. What a pleasant surprise. It did not take long at all and from the top you could see both Pinos Altos and Silver City.

What's more, the summit has a big white metal cross on it. You can read various stories about the significance of the cross if you look it up online, but for me the important thing is the hike itself. You have to watch your footing (as always!) but it was easier going for me than many a spot on Boston Hill. That's definitely a walk worth repeating!

January 30, 2022
Silver City, NM

If I had written on this day, I would have written about the cool park I encountered the day before. It can be entered either through the skateboard park or near the intersection of 13th and Santa Rita Streets.

The playground structures included some I was tempted to try myself, and there are mosaics everywhere! Awesome.

January 29, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Here I was, all ready to go to Farmers' Market, when I realized there is no market this weekend. I decided to go exploring. For instance, where does that road that goes straight when Pope  bends (or ends) go?

The short answer is nowhere. The qualifier is: if you're driving. Well, I wasn't driving so I took advantage of a walkers' gap in the fence and into the parking lot of an apartment complex I had seen from afar but the name of which I didn't know.

Turns out it is called Silver Creek Village and seems rather liveable - great views of the college. Traveling along the drive I entered the stream of Little Walnut Creek road, which took me past a school and the old water works. Now I knew where I was. An old rock shop called The Royal Sceptre looked ancient, but just to be sure I asked a passerby if it was permanently closed. He said yes, those folks moved away years ago.

Not running into any crossroads, I turned back and went past the waterworks again. This time I saw someone pulled up there with a tanker - not a huge one, but an older model smaller-sized one.

I asked the operator, who seemed friendly enough, whether he was taking on water or leaving it. Taking it on, he answered. He has a business delivering water to off-the-grid residents who need it for whatever reason. Some of them had their wells "go bad." Maybe dry, but later it occurred to me there might be other stories there.

Maybe tomorrow I will tell you about another discovery I made on my walk that can't be a secret. I wonder why it took me so long to stumble upon it.

January 27, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Wow. Supposed to be up in the low fifties today, and here, outside the library, my back is warm but my thumbs are cold and slow.

Don't have all that much to write about these days. Now that I'm trying to live within my means I'm spending more time cooking. I try to prepare three or four days' worth of whatever, but it still takes time.

Today another tenant in my building, just met for the first time, asked me if I was ready for Spring. Huh? We've had winter? Well, maybe a few days' worth....

I've seen two different kinds of outdoor plants blooming here pretty much all winter. If it means more birds will come.back, I'm ready for Spring!

January 25, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

I'm using this as a jotting pad right now:


I'm tempted to use this list as a riddle: what do these words have in common?

Yeah, I'll let it hang there....

Along with the comment, quoting a teacher... You shouldn't use too many of these in your writing!

(A little moment of rebellion....)

January 22, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Every third Saturday an organization meets that gives volunteers equipment to pick up trash. One of these months I'll actually get there. This time I was too anxious to get tamales at Farmers Market. I almost missed the vendor because the usual spot she occupied was empty. She said three customers said the same thing today.

The vendor next to her had one item only for sale: caramel. "The best caramel in the world, from a two hundred year old recipe." I absolutely believe it, but I just can't bring a pint of temptation into my home. Endearingly, the caramel vendor was cradling a baby goat under a shawl.

Every day I meet friendly people here. Every single day.

Big skies and friendly folks are enough reason to move here, but don't forget the virtually unlimited hiking!

People who are hiking the Continental Divide Trail come through here all the time, so there are stores that cater to their needs. Today I bought some Smartwool socks at Morning Star, and the young woman working there said it's interesting to hear hikers' stories about what made them decide to hit the trail.

Hmm...that may be a good way to add to the adventure stories and tales of relocation that are always so interesting. Seemingly, Silver City has universal appeal.

January 21, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Yay! The first month of winter is gone! It's already playing at being Spring now and then.

Got my new dentist yesterday, Jonathan Beck. I wasn't too happy about the fact that I would have to walk for half an hour to get to his office, but it was worth it. Never before have I had a mountain view with a bird feeder from the dental chair. I don't imagine all the windows are so favored, but who knows? It was a great introduction. I liked all the people I met there and they did a great job - on short notice, yet.

Actually I wouldn't have had to walk, just for the record. The bus service will take you (I'm not sure if you have to be a senior) pretty much anywhere if you call at least a day ahead. I would just rather walk. Turns out I can get there without walking up the highway at all.

I finally felt like playing a CD yesterday in my studio apartment, and even danced a little! I'm finally getting used to having enough room to move around a real space. Being here in Silver City is like being reborn. Of course, I'm older and off-balance a lot, but I stumble around anyway, so why not dance?

Now I'm dancing to greet the rising sun.

January 19, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Usually guilty of being overdressed for the weather, today I failed to notice the cooling off of the afternoon. Brrrrr....

One thing I forgot to mention the other day is how much I learn from the casual chats I have with people on the streets.

The rock hound I met the other day taught me something I'm amazed that I didn't learn sooner: obsidian isn't always black! He showed me a specimen he had polished that looked like a deep green pool of water. It had two areas, like rocks in a pond, that looked like Labradorite, gleaming gold and green.

Of course when I got home I looked it up in my EB (aka my telephone) and saw that indeed obsidian does not have to be black. Who knew? 

In fact, I'm looking forward to seeing more examples of obsidian that break all my former associations with the word. Makes me wonder how geologists do it, except now I think about it, all studies are like that.

Bird watchers deal with that all the time. It's shaped right, but has mottled feathers... often the immature of the species. Or the call doesn't quite ring a bell... might be from another population a few miles away.

Even a year of plenty or year of drought can change the composition of a given population. How can the specialists stand it? Too much variety turns the generalist in me into a complete lumper.

At any rate, there are stones and semi precious (even precious, I'm told) gems to be found in the wilds of New Mexico, and New Mexico is mostly wild! Celebrate.

January 17, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Usually I shop at the Co-op, but today it looked closed -no cars around - so I changed my plans and went to the Food Basket instead. Between home and there I often meet an interesting stranger and it happened today, too.

I was cutting through a brushy patch when I was startled by a warning growl. I could see nothing but raised my arms, said, "No problem!" and walked back the way I had come. I felt silly - such a narrow strip of ground! - but I felt warned.

I saw a man at the other side of the parking lot and warned him of the dog's presence, but I guess he wasn't going that way anyway. We got to talking.

He's a rock hound, and in this part of the country to get away from his normal haunts in Maine to escape falls on the ice ( tell me about it!) and also, to pick up rocks.

He plans to take his finds and purchases, and with the experience of metals he has gained by working around them all his life - what else? - make jewelry!

He likes to get around the country via Amtrak. I kind of envy him that. I love the train. But for me the loosey-goosey scheduling is almost an insurmountable drawback. Evidently not a problem for him.

He did talk about how the town had changed since seven years ago. The trailer parks all have at least four empty trailers that the owners don't want to bother to rent out, and another place in my neighborhood is now closed for whatever reason. He had a very colorful nickname for it, but alas I can't remember that. Maybe it's just as well I never became a reporter.

No wonder people who tried moving here last summer had such a hard time finding a place! 

Also he reports that jewelry prices have gone up, even in antique malls. News wasted on me (I don't wear it) but I pass the info on to you!

It still feels like Spring here, where the calendar seems to have to catch up with the weather rather than vice versa.

Oops! The Co-op is open after all. Just as well I didn't know. I got some main street stuff I wouldn't have gotten there.

January 16, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Spring is here! Well, it could be, but who would know? There have been flowers visible the whole fall and winter. They are yellow and look (possibly) like some kind of euphorb. (Is broom in that family?)

At any rate, it is warm enough that I'm hanging around the library (which is, of course, closed) able to write outside for the first time in a long time.

This morning I saw a plea for volunteers at the Silver City Museum.and for the fifth time thought, "I've got to do that." What's the obstacle? Uncertainty about my competency, for one thing. Another is unwillingness to don a mask for hours at a time. Sure, I know lots of people have no choice. If this pandemic had happened while I was working at the clinic, I would have gotten the vaccines (as I have) and would have dutifully worn the mask, too. Maybe I still will.

As it is, though, I am balking, whether consciously or umconsciously, and this weather doesn't help. It's so beautiful outside! The air is so clear!

I was talking with a man this morning who had moved to Las Angeles for a while. He lasted seven months, but the smog was so bad he couldn't breathe and returned to Silver City. Then I talked to a woman almost my age who hiked thirteen miles yesterday.

What an inspiration! Good examples abound.

January 14, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Today I walked opposite my last week's path, with more success getting to the place I intended: I hiked from the Cheyenne Street trailhead to Spring Street. It was a great hike, except I overdressed and had to carry too much stuff that I had meant to wear - always a danger in New Mexico.

Unfortunately I live far enough from Boston Hill that I have to expend a good deal of time and energy just to reach the wild area. It's worth it, though. What a maze of trails!

I encountered a couple of family groups and no dogs at all. Unusual.

Later I went downtown and tried to get  (for the second day in a row) into a local shop which had open hours a week or two ago late in the week. The fact that I found it closed worries me. Not only am I frustrated in my purchases, but I am concerned the proprietors have Covid. All along Bullard it is the same story; some shops have "welcome" and "open" lights winking merrily while too many others have disappointed would-be customers peering into dark windows.

It seems to me that Covid is hitting businesses even harder than last year, but it's hard to say. After all, I wasn't even here in Silver City a year ago! I'm told the hotels, at least are doing much better this year.

The sunrise was enchanting this morning and Venus was bold. I thought I saw a second planet nearby, but my binoculars told another story. Just a trick of my vision.

A few of us are planning to have Forrest's pizza tomorrow evening. I hope it will be churning out what my grandson thought was the best pizza he'd ever eaten!

January 12, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Every morning peeking at the sunrise is like opening a wrapped gift. What's in store for us this morning? Once in a while it's not so great, but usually it's beautiful here in Silver City.

There are too many vacant storefronts, and with the loss of clothing stores, a jeweller, and close downtown hardware store (although Tru-Value is not too far away) Wal-Mart is making out like a bandit.

Most of the stores on Bullard Street are art stores or tourist - oriented, which is great for those with more money than I have, and my resolution (although informal) is to start living within my means.

So come visit, folks! Our community is unique, friendly, and the weather is (mostly) idyllic. If you don't like long, scenic winding-road drives, take a plane from Albuquerque to the Grant County Airport - for a song!

Hopefully you'll be enchanted and stay a while.

January 11, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Well, with the new year real life has caught up with me: injured friends, equipment that doesn't work, cloudy days - all the usual travails of life. Actually, they aren't all so usual in my life. I have been very lucky. And even with their misfortunes, my friends have been able to look on the bright side of their lives, too. I am full of admiration.

One thorn in my side has been removed: my old telephone number. Not my telephone service (although T-Mobile said it was active in the face of my months-ago complaint that I wasn't using the number and couldn't access messages if a friend tried to leave me one. What if a long-lasting friend left me a message and I didn't respond? She would think I was stiffing her! That's no service, that's a disservice!

This morning I found out that my former living companion has been footing the bill unbeknownst to either of us because he hadn't been monitoring his account for that kind of accident.

We made sure today that the number was finally disconnected. It had been like a phantom limb in my life, causing anxiety and pain (when I thought about it), but seemingly impossible to deactivate.

I told my ex to stop paying the bill - that T-Mobile should have stopped drawing that money months ago. After all, we had a three-way conversation with T-Mobile at the time I got new service and those charges should have stopped then. I had also subsequently called T-Mobile wanting my message taken off the voicemail and it never happened.

Now I know why. Beware. If you don't remember your password they won't necessarily make the requested changes, but they finally did today. At long last, one of their employees realized my dilemma and removed the service.

If those payments had been stopped months ago, that number would have been reassigned months ago. No password necessary, I bet!

Moral of the story? Look at all the charges on all your accounts. It's very easy to overlook mistakes. Which reminds me... that would make a very good New Year's resolution. One that's completely self-serving. Sometimes that's the best way to go. Monitor those accounts!

Happy New Year! There's still time for most of us to have a better year than 2021. Let's go for it.

January 10, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Today started out cold and now is warmer but feels just as cold because of strong winds!

I decided to walk in the direction that I have been walking in the least - north. North is cold! Why would I want to go there?

Because it is interesting, of course - and I found a very cool block not far from home. There was a median with trees and plants reminiscent of the one on Silver Street near UNM in Albuquerque, but much shorter and much wilder.

It seems as if the residents in that neighborhood took it into their own hands to repair gaps in the sidewalks and streets with concrete ornamented by mosaics of broken pottery and studded by marbles and objects of art. What fun! It would take many walkthroughs to become familiar with that ornamentation. It's a mystery to me how it all came about; maybe if I pass through often enough I will encounter a resident who can tell me.

January 9, 2022
Silver City, NM

Today started out fine. Sure, I knocked my Kindle off the bed and couldn't find it for a couple of minutes and the dawn was uncharacteristically winter subdued, but I could handle that.

What happened at the laundromat, though, made me lose my cool and I raised my voice. The (self-perceived) victim of my rhetoric interrupted me: why are you yelling at me?

Oops. These young'uns don't know what yelling is.

That is the first unfortunate contretemps I've had since moving to Silver City six months ago. Maybe my first outside one. Of course it's happened with people I've been living with. Of course! But I don't live with anyone here, so.

Yesterday I was wandering around Boston Hill for almost three hours! I entered the Open at the Spring Street trailhead and meant to walk up to the bench and back. Somehow I ended up at a place supplied with two benches where I had been with friends a few weeks before. I could hear the dogs barking at the Humane Shelter in the distance. Not my intended destination but otherwise satisfactory. On my way back to Spring Street I took a wrong turn and realized it when I started seeing unfamiliar views. I figured I would end up exiting the trail system via Cheyenne Street and that's what happened.

Even being lost on Boston Hill is fun - as long as you have water and snacks.

Don't even mention the bobcat sightings. That's a while different issue.

January 6, 2022
Silver City, NM

Today is Epiphany, the big consolation for the passing of the twelve days of Christmas. I received gifts from the spirit of Epiphany, for sure.

I received gold in the form of a stash of cash I had tucked away and forgotten. In place of frankincense  good enough health that I don't need incense at all, not even frankincense, that scent of high quality and sophisticated enough for a king, with health-giving benefits (am I tempting fate here?)

As for the myrrh, my forgetting my cash stash is probably, alas, foretelling the death of my mind (hopefully not too far in advance of my physical demise).

But wait! Myrrh has antibacterial properties good for embalming bodies but also good for some preserving of health, which is, in spite of the song We Three Kings of Orient Are, probably the spirit in which it was given to a baby.

In spite of the fact that I no longer am a believer in any religion, I talk about the visitation of the kings as though I were really certain it happened. I don't know, and I don't really care: the story really happened, and it is quite a wonderful one.

To write today I came to the Visitors Center - first time in a while. How charmingly it has been outfitted for Christmas! I missed the main tree, but right by the door is a tree of real knitted winter hats! There are people in Silver City who knit them for donations at this time of year, and they are not gone yet, although Lynelle, on duty here today, thinks they will be gone in another week, so if you need one, come quickly.

These knitters must be exceedingly prolific, because a large supply of hats was also donated to a group of immigrants who were released in Deming without winter garb, Lynelle reported.

Another "tree" here is a cone of afghan squares decorated with yarn balls hanging like ornaments. What fun! I wonder who thought that up?

Well, it is almost closing time here. When I come back the season's specialties might be gone, but I'm glad I stopped by. It's been a wonderful way to celebrate 2022 in its first week!

January 4, 2022
Silver City, NM

This has been the weirdest new year I have experienced. In two days, two if my friends have fallen on the ice. One of them is laid up by bad sprains, the other by a 360 degree ankle break! These folks were not hiking on icy trails in the mountains, they were just doing their thing around town.

It's definitely a cautionary tale for all of us.

I went out early January 2d to return a book due January first. Who knew that they would be open on New Year's Day? They're not ever open on Sundays and Mondays!

I wanted to return a book by the man who has become my favorite author - Salman Rushdie! I had just finished The Enchantress of Florence  and was enchanted, all right!

Silver City is still enchanted in my eyes, also. This morning dawned so crystalline clear with just a few pink clouds in the north and northeast that I have to absolve it for guilt in the accidents of my friends. They might not be so generous - after all, the injuries are theirs.

I'm thinking of breaking down and getting the internet at home. These posts are getting too dull, written in the afternoon, the laziest time of day for this morning person. What seems like an unforgettable idea in the morning has a shelf life of maybe twenty minutes.


January 1, 2022
Silver City, NM

Happy New Year! The new year greeted us with rain and snow. I got to go on a walk with real snowy weather, and only one car passed me during that time. I kept a lookout for Phainopepla and other birds, but they were hunkering down as are most of the residents. I heard only a raven.

Tonight it is supposed to be as cold as eleven degrees. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can see real flames through the grate of my old-fashioned looking space heater. I've been told it is supposed to look as if it is a real wood-burning stove but I have yet to see anything but a blue glow emanating from it - the color of the flame of the gas burner.

The snow looks beautiful and it should stick around at least a couple of days what with the low temperatures. I continue to play Scrabble every day for entertainment. A person can't read all the time!

The Silver City Museum needs volunteers, as does the Visitors Center, so if you move here there are ways to make friends. If you aren't too shy, there are lots of very friendly people to be met on the street. Silver City is the friendliest town I have ever lived in.


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