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November - December 2022
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Tue, November 01 2022 - 6:37 pm

December 29, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Happy 5th Day of Christmas! The other day at the Visitor Center, I hear, eighty-odd people walked through the doors. That is not counting me! Because I was not here.

Good to hear so many folks are coming through town. I wonder what percentage of them will end up living here?

Do not laugh - not a few people I have met here were just passing through and fell in love. Think you are proof against such an irrational emotion for a city? I challenge you to come here and prove you can resist the charm of Silver City.

December 27, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

The 3rd day of Christmas offered up a knock on one of the apartment doors in our building at 2:35 a.m. (!) accompanied by hall light that shone through our transoms, and a lovely sunrise. Guess which I preferred.

It also provided me with gorgeous weather to enjoy the first hike I have taken on Boston Hill in months. I am concentrating on walking faster so the outing took less time than I expected, and hopefully provided more health benefit than when I have gone in the past. It went quickly enough that I was home for lunch before noon. Celebrate!

I am looking forward to what else the day might bring.

December 26, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Merry 2d day of Christmas! It has been cold here, and living in an old house with single-pane windows gave me some hope that I might see ice fronds and other lacy patterns of ice on the outside of the them I remember from my childhood in Northern Indiana. No such luck. I have seen glimmers through the bonds that turned out to be merely droplets of condensation. Perhaps that is a good thing. Cold that I could tolerate as a child might be too frigid for my old lady state. We shall see.

Downtown Silver City has been very festive with lights and ornaments this Christmas season, and I hear the University has been looking good with farolitos at night, although I never yet got over there. Maybe next year.

December 21, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Heads up! It is the shortest day of the year! Fortunately, the light is beginning to return. In the town where I grew up - Valparaiso, Indiana - it seems people will have nine hours and ten minutes of daylight today. Here in Silver City, according to my weather source, we will have nine hours and 59 minutes of daylight. I think that is a substantial gain!

Imagine living on the Equator where the seasonal gain and loss is just a minute or two! I do not, however, want to live there. I like the variations that go along with living in the temperate zones. 

In Madison, Indiana, where I most recently resided for nine years, today is nine hours and 27 minutes long. That difference is significant.

The weight of celebrating the Solstice along with the approach of Christmas is light. I do not mind it at all - or rather, here I celebrate it mostly in my mind.

In Valparaiso I knew a lovely couple who would have solstice parties twice a year. They were joyous! Maybe I will encounter similar celebrations here. I am all for it!

December 18, 2022
Silver City, NM

Silver City has actually gotten some snow this month. It was maybe only three inches, but I was out while it was snowing and those light clumps of flakes were huge - some landed with dimensions of an inch by inch. Very romantic, for those of us who like an occasional snowstorm.

In spite of the fact that it snowed five or six days ago there is still some snow and ice hanging around in spots protected from the sun. It has been very cold, although the highs have in the low forties.

The Silver City Museum hosted a Victorian Christmas party last weekend where they had a red-robed, slender St. Nicholas to read to and engage with the children, who each got a free book for Christmas. There was live music and they offered bowls of red or green posole for a mere $3 a bowl. I chose the red and it was scrumptious. (True confession: I had already eaten lunch but bought a bowl of posole anyway.) I enjoyed every bite and got three free cookies which I also ate on the spot.

It looks as if I will be volunteering at both the wonderful Visitor Center and the Museum next year, if all goes well. They are both of wonderful service to the town, down-home fiber arts Christmas trees and all.

December 7, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

The Visitor Center is evidently suffering a complete turnover of personnel. There may be one person I know still here (besides volunteer personnel) but I am not at all sure. It is quite a mystery. I am trying to volunteer so they will not have to close for any more weekends, but who knows.

I am also applying to volunteer at the Silver City Museum because they also are wanting more help, but we shall see.

When I think of all the volunteer work I have done in the past without having to apply for the privilege, I shake my head.

It seems as if half the population is wildly looking for work and the other half is looking to hire, but the two halves seem unable to meet. What gives?

December 1, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

What a long vacation I have had. I did not think it had been so long. I spent a good part of Thanksgiving week in Las Cruces, in what seems like a new neighborhood. It is very peaceful - very quiet at night.

Nearby is a playground with a zipline for kids - of all ages. It was fun. Maybe one a little longer and higher and wilder would be okay, too.

We went to the Farmers Market in Las Cruces on Saturday. I was in heaven! So many people of all ages and races. There were all kinds of products for sale. One would think humans ate paintings and rocks, judging from the booths. Really it is just a market - a quarter-mile long market! So exciting!

We did not make it to any wild wide open spaces this time around, but it was the biggest reunion I have been to in almost a decade. Lots of - people. I do not remember getting lonely or restless.

Now, back at home in Silver City, somehow I manage to fill my time without so much company around. It is good to be home.

November 17, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

The other day I was walking downtown when I heard drums. As I got closer I saw a woman in a poncho dancing. Then I heard strumming of stringed instruments. It could not have been much above fifty degrees, if that, but all four seemed to be enjoying the sun. If there was a container for donations I failed to see it.

This is the kind of reason I celebrate Silver City. This, and the fact that in spite of temperatures in the twenties at night I can still see marigolds and roses blooming. Perhaps the sun warms up the surrounding walls, rocks, and pavement enough to keep the plants alive overnight.

Today is cold but cloudless. Perhaps that is why the temperature will be up in the low fifties in the early afternoon. Yippee!

Tonight I go to the movie club at the Silco Theater and tomorrow night there is an open house at the purple art guild building on the corner of Market and Bullard Streets. How wonderful that they are here, easily accessible to us locals!

As one person said when we were leaving the movie showing last week, the movie club is taking off. Fear not, though. There is still space to spread out to avoid much danger of coronavirus. Maybe if I get to the open house at the guild early enough it will be safe there, too.

Or maybe they will require masks, although the only place I have seen that required lately is in medical facilities.

These are not the days to step up. These are the days to step back.

Nobody can afford to get the disease now. Thanksgiving is coming!

November 16, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Alas, the increase of coronavirus cases in Grant County is worse than the U.S., New York, and New Mexico as a whole. I wonder why that is.

I myself certainly do not want to start wearing a mask again if I do not have to. I am not in close quarters with many people and I am not going to go around asking people if they have been vaccinated, especially since vaccines seem to be only somewhat effective against infection.  Good luck with the new wave, folks.

November 15, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Sometimes I go to the library to get online, and sometimes I go to the Visitor Center. Today I am at the Visitor Center. This is a great place. Everyone I have met working here is awesome. Every person. Now, alas, many of these wonderful people are leaving their jobs at the Center because they have new goals and challenges.

So far the new hires I have met are living up to the high quality of their predecessors. They have all been welcoming and knowledgeable.

The library is a good place to be also, but there is no one there whose major job is to be a greeter and dispenser of knowledge about where we are living. The atmosphere at the Visitor Center is more homelike.

Both the library and the center feel to me like my homes away from home, and I am grateful.

November 14, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

Just because I am in love with Silver City does not mean I think it is perfect. I do try to be a little cautious when I am going through the river park. I try to do this with subtlety because I do not want to cause offence.

The other day, though, when I actually went up the stairs to Sixth Street because I saw a pretty big guy by the river that I did not want to encounter too suddenly (I had not been able to get a good take on him from above) he passed by me on the corner and growled at me, I am not a brat.

At least I think that is what he said.

Well, he must have mistaken me for someone else. I am not in the habit of calling adults brats except in fun. Maybe I misheard him. For sure he misread me.

It reminds me of an observation I have heard a coupled times: the greatest fear of men with relation to women is that women will laugh at them, while the greatest fear of women with regards to men is that men will kill them.

So give me a break. A certain amount of caution with regards to males in a relatively solitary place is just good sense.

It is not a mortal insult on my part.

Fear not!

...hmmm... I wonder how many people in town I could be mistaken for? The idea that is happening is a little scary.

I thought I was eccentric in my own unique way.

November 11, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

I am split, divided, of two minds, whatever you want to call it. It just occurred to me, though, that there are some traits I have been told I possess that are really, in combination, self-defeating. For instance, I am fond of literature, words, and self-expression. I am too literal, I am told. I have also been told (more than once, I fear) that I am a pedant. Moreover, in spite of my significant practical streak, I consider myself a romantic. These traits combined are just not always a good, effective blend.

Alas, I am literally a pedantic romantic!

(Ha! I bet you have never seen that phrase before!)

Tell you one thing I am not split about, though.

I love Silver City. It is like no other place I know.

Someone should come make a set of romantic short films about this wonderful town.

November 9, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

The idea of living in some of the places I used to live is awful. I am sure it is gray and cold there - even with global warming. The day began with a golden cloudless dawn this morning, and it has been sunny ever since. I am warm enough outside today in a sweater - admittedly a big fuzzy sweater-jacket.

On the negative side of the local scene, though, some people here think that the number of automobile accidents in town has gone up since marijuana has been legalized; there are nine places here where you can buy marijuana (legally) I hear. I hope all you pedestrians like me are stepping up your self-protective game with regards to the cars and trucks around you. 

Although I am glad for those who are now legal users, nine outlets??

Personally I would rather see a few more shoe shops!

November 6, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

 The time change discombobulates me even in New Mexico, where the light is more reliable and consistent than many other places - especially here in Southern New Mexico.

When I was a girl I wrote in my diary, Happiness is loving where you are, which encompasses a lot.

Well, I am happy here - I love it! - but waking up at 4:30 in the morning is less ideal than waking up at 5:30 - which is the time it would have been yesterday when I got up. On the other hand, I am not happy with the Spring time change either.

The whole issue with relation to humans and time makes me wonder about early birds and night owls. Do people who like the day just like to avoid the dark? Do night owls like to stay up late because they don’t want to rise before dawn? Do the two groups appreciate different kinds of social interactions?

Do night owls have more trouble letting go of their day, or do they associate the daylight hours with school and work?

The mixture of emotions I felt upon finding out what time it was made me understand how someone can be happy and depressed at the same time. I definitely must have SAD. I just cannot believe how many weeks must pass before the light even begins to return.

No wonder Thanksgiving is scheduled for about a month before the light begins to return! It is a welcome distraction from the encroaching shades of night.

November 3, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

The only other things I can think of about witches is their kitchen medicinal brewing and the muttering of incantations, often witnessed in tandem.

When I am in the kitchen (trying to cook in close quarters) my clumsiness and weakness when trying to cook leads inevitably to mutterings, imprecations, shrieks and the incantations necessary for keeping functional while frustrated with kitchen equipment and ingredients. Age has definitely magnified these behaviors. I am at my worst when I am trying to open a new jar of food. I am more often than not reduced to heating water on the stove for dunking the lid to get it to expand and respond to the twists very difficult for aging hands and wrists.

Of course, success in that endeavor leads to more celebratory dancing and singing, renewing the inspiration for possible misunderstanding by passersby.

Top all the eccentric behavior with the grimaces associated with the stress of attempts to see through failing eyes and hear through a tinnitus that competes with the noise level of gale winds and it is no wonder that old women are accused of being witches!

I had better start practicing my broomstick navigating skills - no telling when I might have to make a quick getaway!

November 2, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico

It seems I remember the Inquisitions and other persecutions using the excuse of religion (or lack thereof) for placing the label of witch on some poor innocent. (Gee, do I sound biased here.) I tend to hold religion responsible for some of that labeling. After all, if an entity is all good or okay or perfect, then we humans, needing a psychological balance, have to create an entity that is all wicked or perfectly bad. It just makes sense. In physics we would say every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

So believers, it seems, would have to have something almost equally opposite to believe in order to maintain their psychological equilibrium. This would also support the tendency of many of us to have an occasional mental dialog in support and/or in opposition to a particular course of action. I would like to know what cartoonist first depicted a little angel on one shoulder of a conflicted character and a little devil on the other. What genius that artist showed! Well, what do you know? I knew the basic idea was older than anything we would think of as a cartoon, but it is centuries old.

Our cartoonists depictions are more comic though - which seems appropriate to me. I read a kids’ book decades ago that described our conflicted selves as “big me” and “little me.” I like that explanation much more than angel/devil imagery.

On the other hand, it is still Halloween in a sense. Both angels and devils (and witches!) have one thing in common on that occasion, I have noticed: they all want candy! If they are anything like we were as children, they are still eating it.

November 1, 2022
Silver City, New Mexico 

Today is All Saints Day, but we certainly do not hear much about witches on this day; the emphasis is more on skeletons including more beautiful young female ones wearing roses and ball gowns. True to my promise, though, I will try to speak of possibly witchy behavior, as seen by passers by. Sometimes people reporting witches complain of grotesque dancing - perhaps this is seen as unruly or a truly demonic attempt to attract the devil.

For many of us older women, though, dancing is seen as an exuberant expression of the joy of being alive. I am delighted to be able to dance and to have room to dance, inferior as my form may be. Actually, I am of the opinion that I invent some pretty good moves!

As for those poor souls who have no heat at home, who am I to blame them for dancing around the fire in the company of others - for safety, of course. As for those groups of women seen in olden days dancing naked - what else could they do without air conditioning?

As for dancing naked around a fire: even summer nights grow cold. I am not sure this occurs anymore anyway. I have never seen or heard of it - which is more than I can say of some of the Ku Klux Klan. Well, except for the nakedness. The men cover that with robes and hoods so that no one is able to identify them.

Viva the joyous celebration of women of any age who can still move in praise of life!

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