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January 2023
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sun, January 01 2023 - 12:33 pm

January 31, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

I pulled apart the owl pellet I thought I might have found yesterday and could not find anything that I could be sure was a bone in what was a big four-inch mass of hair. Now I am beginning to thin it was an industrial-sized vacuum pellet!

I have not thrown it away yet. Further investigation is definitely called for.

Meanwhile Austin and Denver and many other parts of the country are suffering from record lows, snow and ice and I managed this morning to fall on dry cement - no grass (or cushy pellets of owls, for that matter) to break my fall. Kind of a nasty idea anyway, huh?

I did discover this morning that an exam by an audiologist should be covered by Medicare. I had one from a local practitioner and learned a good deal.

One thing I learned - the available over the counter hearing aids are not worth much for the price, and some companies offering them are not selling many.

At any rate, with free hearing exams available, why not see where you stand? My exam was kind of fun!

January 30, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico 

Yesterday on a quick afternoon walk I saw what looked like an owl ball on the sidewalk by the nearby elementary school. It looked like the biggest one I had ever seen and was very hairy. The hair was light-colored and there was a lot of it. Now, of course, I am wondering if something else was going on not having to do with owls at all.  Yesterday I did not want to handle it at all, but if it is still there today I might investigate it a little more thoroughly. If there are small bones in it it is likely to be an owl ball. But from what kind of owl?

January 29, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

Just learned this morning that the Mormon Church is the 2d largest property owner of religious organizations in the U.S. today.

Guess what religious organization owns the most?

So go on, folks, keep on giving your mites to your churches. They need them, after all, to maintain all that land and all those buildings.

(My exhortation for the day, smile...)

January 28, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

I used to have hits from all over the world, probably because the town in which I intended to have walking tours was located in a university town. I also talked about some pretty interesting and curious stuff which would perhaps not have had much online information at the time.

Those Internet times have passed for me, I guess because I am of no economic benefit to the search engines hat tell us all where to go. Heh.

So recently when I got a hit from the Ukraine, I wondered why. Why would someone from that beleaguered, war-smitten country log on to my website?

I will probably never know, but I think and wonder about that possible human being (does AI log unbidden onto websites yet?) and wonder.

January 26, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

Gorgeous day in Silver City! The weather is still cold, but sunny. Someone told me that Florida stole the name Sunshine State from New Mexico. I wonder if he was just saying that because New Mexico has literally more sunshine, or whether there is some actual historical justification for saying it. At any rate, it sounds like a possibly intriguing tale.

Slowly, the light is coming back. Why we are over a third of the way to Spring Solstice! Yippee!
Here comes the sun.

January 25, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

It is always amusing to see advice from younger people to older about how we ought to dress.  Wear your hair short! Get rid of jeans! And on and on.

What these advice givers do not understand is that we elders do not care what they think. Sure, we care at least a little if you are a daughter or a sister. (I never see males writing on-line this way.)

But we are old! I have always prioritized comfort over fashion, and as I get older I am even more comfort-oriented. It is obvious that the young do not care about the opinions of their elders when it comes to fashion, why do they think we care about theirs?

Well, as I said, it is funny.

That said, I often love seeing someone my generation who is stylin’. If they look good staying up to date, more power to them.

January 24, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico 

This Saturday there is a heart origami workshop at the Guild art annex. I am going. Unfortunately it is filled for this year. So far I have not done well with origami (I cannot fold a crane to save my life) but hearts might be easier. We will see.

It is a great idea, so maybe the person leading the workshop (Kate Kendig) will offer it again next year.

January 23, 2023
Silver City, NM

Did I say I am volunteering as a greeter at the Silver City Museum? It is fun. I hope I get to keep the job! There is, as part of being a volunteer, an opportunity to be part of a book club. Yay! Of course, the books are related to the history of the region, but that is fine with me. I need a little incentive to do serious reading these days. I have started reading the first book already read by the group so I can have some of the same material under my belt as the old hands.

There is an adult education program at WNMU also, called WILL. No reason to go stagnant here just because it is a small town!

January 21, 2023
Silver City, NM

Turns out by visiting Austin last week I missed some bitter cold weather. Everyone - especially recent arrivals - have been complaining about how much colder it is here this year than it was last year. I do not mind the cold as long as I dress for wind chill rather than the literal temperature; but be warned - this is not Florida!

Usually December is supposed to be the coldest month, but not this winter season.

Another cold thing about Silver City seems to be, from what I have heard, the police. At risk of becoming known to them, I have to warn you about that.

But is that so very different from other small towns? I wonder.

January 20, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

One place we alighted in Austin was Barton Springs Pool, fed by underground springs of about room temperature. Supposedly it is okay for all year swimming, but they still call their annual January 1st swim the Polar Bear Plunge.

Brrr. The pool is three acres in area, so there is lots of room for plenty of swimmers, but I would not count on them to warm up the water enough for my cold-blooded mostly skinny body!

The Springs are a beautiful mostly natural setting that is part of Zilker Park, also rumored to have a sculpture garden. Alas, it was closed when we stopped by, but a nearby garden with peacocks and brookside trails was worth a visit.

January 19, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

My apologies for not writing about Austin the way I had predicted. The Internet was just not working where I was staying.

Austin was wonderful, though. We hiked along the river a couple of times at different locations. The water birds flying downstream in the morning were cormorants, and for the first time I realIzed that female grackles are not all jet-black like the males. We actually saw a few paper whites and other small narcissuses blooming in January in the parks.

The temperature was supposed to get up to eighty once or twice but I am not sure it did. It certainly did not feel like eighty degrees. It made me aware that eighty in the winter is not eighty in the summer.

Austin really is the big city, though, with an impressive skyline.

January 11, 2023
Austin, Texas

Big city, bright lights! So many all-glass buildings seemingly surrounding the old-style capitol building that probably used to be the largest building in town.

The city clearly offers many attractions, but tomorrow my family and I are planning to turn our backs on the materialistic metropolis and go on the trail of missions of the area. The trail supposedly begins at the Alamo and is twenty-five miles long. It will be interesting to see how they vary.

Obviously we will make this pilgrimage by car.

January 9, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

I just saw on a weather site it is going to go up to 80 degrees when I am in Austin. That means packing complications! Dang. How do you folks handle packing for trips? The rest of the human population, that is. You folks.

Maybe I am just too comfort-oriented. Well, I know I am.

How does anyone deal with the range of temperatures in the American Southwest?

I remember a friend who lived in Northern Indiana complaining about her Western travels: There are no seasons in the West, she maintained. It can be winter one day and summer the next (not to mention, I agreed, summer in the day and winter that very night.)

Whatever you pack traveling in the West, flexibility needs to be at the top of the list.

January 8, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

The holiday season is over and things would be going back to normal - except that I will be leaving town in a couple of days. Austin is my destination so I will be writing from there for a few days.

I have been to Austin before, but not recently, so maybe I will have some reportable experiences. We shall see!

January 7, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

The Silver City Museum has an interesting exhibit right now about a strike at the Empire Zinc Mine in the nineteen-fifties that had political and show-biz repercussions for some involved as well as the obvious personal ones. A film was produced about the strike which had mostly local citizens in addition to some professional actors.

Hard feelings abounded and still abound today, I am told by folks at the museum. That has made for some drama surrounding the business. When it comes to social conflicts, fifty years is nothing, it seems.

I wonder if in the late 2000s people will still be arguing over the insurrection of January 6th, 2021. Maybe my grandchildren will know.

January 6, 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

Happy Epiphany! I like to celebrate from the Winter Solstice through Epiphany, because after all, Epiphany celebrates the visit of the wise men to the baby in the manger. Epiphany should be the real gift-giving day.

I have always appreciated Epiphany as an escape valve from the Christmas deadline. Some years I have sent Epiphany cards (hand-made) and I believe I have never missed a deadline for holiday gift-giving if the deadline was Epiphany.

Plus, Epiphany is a day when you can really begin to perceive the return of the light.

It is a great time of year.

January 5, 2023
Silver City, NM

Happy Twelfth Day of Christmas! Considering all the horrible things that are going on in the world, I almost feel guilty saying this. How can anyone be happy? How dare we?

I say in my own defense, when things are not going well with me - even in (at least once in my life) life-threatening situations, it does not give me joy to think others might have their day ruined along with mine.

It does not even help unless they provide help I need, and once they have done that, let them be free! In spirit and body!

Maybe I will have a further epiphany about this tomorrow - Epiphany.

Until then, do me a favor and celebrate Twelfth Night. I will suffer no guilt - not even about eating some of my Christmas sausage and crackers, and I hope you will have a lovely evening.

Buy a ticket and come to the book club at the Silco Theater on Bullard Street! Celebrate the fact that here in Silver City, at least we can be bored (in the unhumble opinion of George Bernard Shaw) by a succession of fair days!

...with highs in the fifties.... Darn!

January 4, 2023
Silver City, NM

Happy Eleventh Day of Christmas! What are you doing to maintain the holiday spirit into the new year? I have managed to maintain it as much as possible by making my perishable goodies last through Epiphany.

Tomorrow night I will count the movie club offering at the Silco as a Twelfth Night celebration.

January 3, 2023
Silver City, NM

Happy Tenth Day of Christmas! 

Today there was no dawn at all to speak of. It did get light, so the sun must have come up, but it might be the first truly cloudy day since I moved here a year and a half ago.

Laid back and lazy day... well, that can be a gift, too.

I had to ignore warning about possibly insecure connection to say hi. My website owner is working on the problem. He has been giving me this forum for my rants, stories, travel reports and ruminations for almost twenty years. It will be that long in 2024. Wow! Thanks, son!

Evidently, according to the local newspaper, New Mexico is having trouble implementing high speed Internet, but there are still some people who work remotely from this wonderful location.

January 2023
Silver City, New Mexico

Happy Eighth Day of Christmas and New Year!

I have already received the gift of a dramatic murderous deep purple and magenta dawn, which then turned a serene pastel, and two special gifts on my morning walk. Intending to walk through a wild area on my way up Eighth Street, I was forestalled by what I first thought was a dog. I prepared myself for an unwanted encounter because I saw no human.

But no! It was a gorgeous healthy stag. What a wonderful way to start the new year! I started walking westward down the street and he emerged onto the street behind me. I expected him to cross and was startled to see him following me smack in the middle of the road! For a fleeting second I thought he might trail me like a cat or dog. I had after all, given him some pretty powerful sweet-talk!

I guess he was going my way, though, to the end of the block, where he turned in the opposite direction from mine, clipclopping down the street. Except he did not clipclop. His delicate feet made not a sound on the pavement.

No wonder we never hear the reindeer of Santa Claus on the roof on Christmas Eve!

On my way home I picked up a diodar cedar branch from the sidewalk which had new little cones that would, if still attached to the tree, have turned into the impressive pale green cones I raved about last year. Well, the loss of the tree became my porch ornament.

I cannot help but wonder, though, why that five-foot branch is not still growing on the tree. The first mystery of the year.

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