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August 2022
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Mon, August 01 2022 - 2:41 pm

August 30, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

This morning I left at around 5:30 for the laundromat - before sunrise! When I got home I saw that the bar of soap I had by the kitchen sink had been dragged over a foot from its dish by the sink.

Do mice eat soap?? Yes, they do. Good grief. But drag it across the counter? I do not know. Maybe I scared it when I came back into the house and got its adrenaline up. One of the poison packets left by the exterminator was open. Maybe it was seeking an antidote for the poison.

We shall see. My imagination is going wild since this latest development in my mouse tale, so of course I am not well pleased. Harrumph.

August 29, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Aargh! I have got mice! One of my daughters, visiting this weekend, ended up helping me with pest control. I had tried the essential oil of peppermint which did seem to discourage them, but it was not quite enough. After the first signs of mice about a week and a half ago I broke down and called my landlord today for help.

My daughter and I set up three traps but after two nights we have not caught one mouse. My daughter had the aim over the weekend of helping me organize my apartment better, and did she ever! But it meant more work for her. I bet she is exhausted.

My goal for the weekend was to have some fun, and we managed to accomplish that also. Friday night, thanks to a friend who could not use some tickets, we got to hear Billy Townes and his group play some awesome jazz. He gave the names of his musicians countless times, but who can remember them when overwhelmed by awesome arpeggios and fun syncopation?

I am no longer very good at sitting; I think that was my first concert in decades. Townes made holding still even more difficult. We wanted to get up and dance!

Sunday morning we managed to commune with nature on the Continental Divide Trail. We saw, thanks to the surprising rain this season, an abundance of green and some fun mushrooms, including earth stars.

Add to those experiences an enjoyment of the wonderful cooking at W&Z and Country Kitchen plus a sighting or two of Silver City’s magical mural art and the WNMU campus, and I have to say it was a highly unusual weekend - a weekend of drudgery and luxury.

From my point of view, it was a highly productive as well as enjoyable weekend. Next time, though, I hope there will be more time spent luxuriating!

August 26, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Yesterday evening I walked farther than I have before along the road that goes past the old Recreational Center. It was a curved road and the potential for someone coming along fast and carelessly made me a little nervous, but I wanted to get to the top of the ridge.

Along the way I saw a smooth brown rock. All of a sudden I caught a flicker of white near one side. Maybe that was a bird! Of course if so, I wanted to try to identify it. I kept staring.

All of a sudden there was action, but instead of a bird I saw a deer head raised up - and it had antlers! That boulder  was a buck!

It was a stag with at least three points on each side. Once he had seen me he stood stock still, as if he thought I would not see him if he held still. It occurred to me for the first time that fuzzy antlers might be a good element for camouflage. If I had seen them at all before he moved, I could have mistaken them for a young cactus or other kind of fuzzy growth.

Who could blame him for thinking I would not recognize him for what he was? After all, I thought he was a boulder.

August 25, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

The rains have made Highway 180 towards Cliff impassable. A bridge is out. Luckily it was obviously compromised so it was closed before it gave out, so no one was hurt by the failure - at least physically. Some schools are closed. Now the bridge is partly gone. You can see the fast waters below where the pavement of the highway used to be.  The Catwalk is closed.

On the bright side, the vegetation is almost what you would call lush. The weather is not too hot, and the clouds are magnificent. Today there is no precipitation expected, yippee, but there is more predicted for this weekend. Just, hopefully, not quite so much this time.

August 24, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

I never got around to talking about the fourth downtown book store - the Avalon. To be quite frank, I always found the writing on the windows off-putting and have barely been inside the door and always in the company of others.

This time I went in and really looked around. Half the collection was stuff other than books - albums and various other media items. They also have some games. That was okay, though, because they have enough space for plenty of books, one of which I bought.

Silver City does deserve credit for having a lot of books available to the public, I have to admit. I must say, though, that if I were an entrepreneur with a sizable stash of capital I would supply what this town desperately needs - a really fine shoe store.

Sure, Morning Star has some very fine shoes and sandals. They are, however, oriented to the outdoors and hiking market. Sometimes a person needs something a little more refined. Citified, if you will.

Really, I think the town is big enough to support it.

August 23, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

On my walk today, undertaken with the motive of finding the end of Arizona Street and the connections between Arizona Street, Highway 90, and Bullard Street, I learned that sure, you can go from Arizona to Daniel and cross the highway to Mill Street, but go to the end of Arizona and you can take a different way around. You will still get to Mill Street, but it will be different.

The way I tend to poke and probe by way to (and sometimes through) the numerous dead-ends in town made me realize something about the nature of my explorations: I am always looking for another way through.

Why? I have not yet made that discovery about my internal landscape!

August 22, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Silver City is having a real monsoon season this year. After seeing Indian monsoons in movies I always laughed about people calling New Mexico’s summer rains monsoons.

The fact is, though, monsoons are defined as recurring seasonal rains. Any particular shower does not have to soak you through within ten seconds to qualify it as part of a monsoon.

Most of us are really enjoying the cooler temperatures.

August 20, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Distractions abound. I almost lost the will to get online today because of the forecast of unremitting rain, but lo! A sun break! I had to seize the moment.

This morning I almost did not go to Farmers’ Market. Who could possible show up in this rain? I was sure I would encounter a wet and dismal empty lot.

I could not have been more wrong. The place was jumping and thriving. Of course there were not as many customers, but there were many vendors. A vendor or two were not present, but most of the faithful were there.

Such a lively colorful scene to encounter on a wet day. I wore some waterproof sandals - dunked one foot on the way there and both on the way back - but who cares? The temperature was almost room warm.

What fun!

August 17, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Evidently I lost what I wrote yesterday - probably forgot to save it. Or maybe, just maybe, the Internet was not working.

I am wondering these days what is going to become of the city’s Siberian Elms. Who cares, some may mutter. Well, I do. They are better than no elms at all. They provide shade, or would if they were not being eaten alive by what some people here call elm beetles.

Some of them are so denuded that they look dead. Or maybe those trees are dead. If so, I wonder how much of a role the beetles play. Can the elms (like Japanese Beetle infested Lindens) survive after a season of being munched on?

And what about the aesthetics this summer of trashed leaves, eaten full of holes that do not at all resemble lovely lace? If anyone here is doing anything about elm beetles I have not heard about it. I will look it up and get back to you on that.

August 13, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

It is raining so much these days that plants that like water are going bonkers. Morning glories are climbing up telephone poles. Wild clematis is growing over yards of telephone line and morning glories are using their hanging foliage to climb up them! Four o’clocks are taking over yards.

The median on tenth street is so dense with foliage that some folks looking out their windows cannot see the houses of their neighbors across the street. Some others who live out of town are talking about high the rivers are.

So far I have not heard about any excessive flooding, but one man I talked to said at first the river that runs past his property ran black (I am only wondering now - ash? I thought he meant topsoil.) Now it is churned-up brown. I wonder how long it will take to run clear again.

Xerophytes seem to be okay so far. Hope hope hope.

August 12, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Every day I walk by trees with fruit. Even when it is over the sidewalk or the street I do not touch it. In fact, even when it is in the street I do not pick it up. I am not sure quite why. I would have done it in the past, probably.

Maybe my reticence is because I am fairly new in the community. I am not sure what is expected here. Mostly, though, I think it is because I do not need people thinking that this particular pedestrian is on the take, desperate, or wanting anything from anybody.

Except conversation, of course. I am almost always on the make for conversation!

August 10, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Yesterday I walked straight into a new (to me) neighborhood that formerly I have only touched, and found yet another interesting playground. The retaining walls that keep the playground quite a bit above street level are covered with paintings - more bold bright mural art that wraps  around the corner of the block.

Near the corner of the mural are the words (approximately): we want sanitation not discrimination. On the way back home a man stopped his car and entered into conversation. He said he used to know a few miners who lived in the neighborhood, but they have all died.

It is safe to assume given the mural, that the neighborhood used to be largely Hispanic and indigenous people. I wonder who the neighborhood is comprised of now. The only person I encountered in the neighborhood proper was an Anglo who made sure I was aware of the hiking trails on Boston Hill.

Made me wonder if the current denizens would rather not have strangers walking on their streets.


August 7, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

I have not been able to log on to my website for two days, maybe because of weak signals. I’ve been wanting to write about soft breezes, something I have not heretofore related to the New Mexican experience. In fact, those wonderful caressing gentle winds surprised and pleased me when I went back to the Midwest.

Mysteriously, we have had some here in Silver City in recent weeks. Due to humidity in the air, they are only pleasant if the temperature is just right. Once it gets too hot, humidity is a drag.

It is rather comical: people here comment on the humidity when it is in the forty, but in humid regions like those east of the Mississippi River, it gets much much higher. If it is too hot and too high humidity, you feel as if you are trying to walk through water.

That is how I hear it has been in my old Indiana home lately.

Sounds like I got out just in time.

August 4, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

I have been reading Chris Bohjalian novels lately. If you have not encountered many new words lately, read him. He will use words (I bet) that you have not seen before. I suspected him of making some up, but they are in online dictionaries. More fodder for Spelling Bee games, if I can remember them.

Of course, somebody makes up all the words we use every day, if not a week ago, then certainly years or centuries ago.

I have the habit myself.

August 3, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Living in a studio apartment with no washing machine, I do my laundry at a laundromat called Laundryland. Pretty fanciful name, no? And only about a ten-minute walk from home.

It is the best laundromat ever. It is far from new but very clean. (The machines work just fine.) I have learned a few interesting tricks there that I would never recommend. A grease-spotted shirt that escaped emergency action with Dawn dishwashing liquid at home? Buy a last-minute garment saver from the soda machine - coke. Something I no longer put in my body, but great for getting out grease. Just put in in your washer after the real wash cycle begins. Yeah, it is an expensive last minute fix, but cheaper by far than a new blouse.

And as an added bonus, I think the coke gets rid of old soap residues from past washings. My clothes and linens feel softer than usual. It probably dissolves mineral deposits from the water, too. Of course, I would never recommend it.

The folks I have met working there are very industrious and thorough. If you are traveling through or a resident, the Laundryland on Hudson is also just across a parking lot from the Visitor Center. You can see where to visit next while your clothes are in the washer.

Laundryland is also just across the street from the local Post Office. You can buy postcards from the Visitor Center and mail them right across the street. Another thing you can get at the Visitor Center is a Zia zipper pull to replace any missing from your clothing or camping gear.

How cool is that?

August 2, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Today I found Hidden Park! I was within half a block of an entrance (there are at least two) last week and missed it. Duh.

There is actually a pretty imposing set of stone steps leading up to the park. My theory is that it used to be a pretty grand home or some kind of institution that is no longer there. Go onto 38th Street from Swan and go up the staircase. Keep heading north on kind of a trail and you encounter a swing set with three swings. Head north from there and you encounter a basketball court and net and a few benches. In the same general area is one of those kiddie toys on a big spring. There are some nice views in spots.

I encountered a woman who lives nearby on my way back home. She told me the neighborhood has been advised not to go there because of issues with the wildlife. I did see a good-sized deer, but nothing else.

She told me that three weeks ago they removed a bear from the park! They tranquilized it and shipped it deep into the Gila. Of course I learned that after I had walked through.

The fact that I had to walk for an hour to get there is another deterence, but I plan to head back every now and then. It’s nice to have a variety of destinations.

The public library now has more murals around the inside of the patio near the main entrance. The young folks were working on them during the last week or so and their spirit fits right in with what was already there. I bring that up at this moment because I am here at the library right now. The artwork makes a person feel welcome.

August 1, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

I spent some time at the Visitor Center Sunday, introducing a few folks to the sandbox and animal print blocks. Kids almost universally like it a lot. Some older adults do not look like hikers so other subjects of conversation come up. One group of four folks included at least one man who had lived in New Mexico for twenty years twenty years ago.

He showed me a beautiful picture of Fort Bayard on the wall that had at least two-story white buildings with columns and balconies - really nice buildings. He told me they were gone now - at least the way they looked in the photo. He said someone who got elected governor had a thing against Fort Bayard and the State kicked out the residents of the buildings. Now, unmaintained, they are going to pot.

There is a story there I will have to look into... sometime.

I ran into the same group along the river walk on my way home (away from the surveillance cameras, heh).  I think it was the same gentleman who said then that he calls New Mexico the Land of Disenchantment.

Oh, well. I am still under the spell, and more and more people are becoming discontent with California, his current state of residence. Hmpf - Maybe I should call California the Fool’sgolden State.

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