Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh, my goodness ... how the time goes by!

Another beautiful, sunny morning in Silver City, New Mexico! We are really appreciating the temperatures here, and lack of snow. Especially considering the 18 inches of snow our old home received in 24 hours recently!

We've had a busy January! Probably the highlight was attending the Bluff Balloon Festival for the fourth straight year. Sandy has described in her blog our fry bread fare and the fun we had (as always) at the school's benefit fry bread dinner and performance.

The first year we went, the Sunday launch was out at Valley of the Gods. The roads were too bad to go out there the next two years, but this year we were able to go again. It was a fabulous, other-worldly experience!

We got out there before the balloonists and before the dawn light really hit. We were treated to about five minutes of out-of-this-world red-gold dawn glow on the sandstone cliffs and spires! We just stood there, with our mouths open and cameras pointing, at the stunning beauty surrounding us. It only lasted about five minutes, but it was five minutes in we shared that awesome beauty the Navajos describe in the Beauty Way:
In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty"

And then we watched the balloons float through this beauty. The light wasn't as fantastic as it was in those first few minutes, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

After spending the morning frolicking in the desert, we didn't want to drive eight hours back to Silver City, so we went to Mancos via Hovenweep National Monument. We'd been there once before, on a very icy day. This was much nicer and we had a good hike around Little Ruin Canyon, including this shot of Square Tower ... a tower built in a canyon bottom. ?

A nice night at the Mesa Verde Motel, Sandy had her favorite BBQ sandwich at the Millwood ... and there was four inches of snow the next morning! On the way back from the MLK breakfast at the community center (lots of friends!), we enjoyed this snow-bedecked tree in the Bauer House yard.

The snow and slush was gone by the time we got to Shiprock, and we were glad to head back to warmer climes.

We've been busy planning ahead since then. Got a hitch put on the Mercury and got the Casita reshod with tires and did some more getting ready to go trailering. Now we need to locate a place that's a few hours away, warmer, with full hookups to give the new car-Casita combination a trial run. This also frees up the Jeep to put the bike rack back on, inflate the bike tires and oil the moving parts and do some biking!

After not being held last year, the Red Paint Powwow was held at WNMU and we attended one of the grand entries. Powerful and colorful! And fry bread! Hope we can take in more next year.

Sandy's Kiwanis Club does a lot for and with kids. Sandy got to do Terrific Kid awards at Hurley Elementary School. Hurley is a little (1,400 pop.) mining town east of here. She's enjoyed the school spirit and last Friday we got to go for the awards and also for the celebration of the school's getting an 'A' rating by the State of New Mexico. What a neat thing ... the town really supports the school and turned out to hold a parade to honor the school's educational achievement! If you don't think Hurley is a small town, note the midday traffic downtown!

And, yes, there's musical fun, too. Saturday night we treated ourselves to supper at the Buckhorn Saloon in Pinos Altos, where friends of ours were playing gypsy jazz! tv

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I guess 2012 is here to stay!

We're off tomorrow to Bluff, Utah, for the annual Bluff Balloon Festival. This will be our fourth year there and we're really looking forward to it. Will probably be posting a few pictures from there after we get back ... it promises to be clear, so maybe the Sunday flight will be out at Valley of the Gods!

In the meantime, we spent New Year's afternoon going where we hadn't gone before ... out to the "ghost town" of Mogollon, about 70 miles west of here. It was a good scouting trip ...there's lots to return to see and photograph.

On the way out, we saw a small herd of javelinas beside the highway. This one was grazing right beside the road. It looked up and, between the time I started to press the shutter button and the time the shutter actually clicked, s/he wheeled on its hind feet and started to scram. Dang, they're fast!

Anyway the town of Mogollon, which once numbered more than 1,500 souls, sits down in an east-west canyon, where the sun doesn't shine much in winter. 'Twas as cold as the picture indicates. A few people do live there, some in houses, some in converted vehicles, and there are a few seasonal businesses.

We did get up the winding, muddy road to the cemetery above the town, where the sun was still shining. Like the one above Kingston, it seems to ramble through the trees, without a clearly followed plan of organization. Many stories to wonder about, like this man who died at 20. Or Gordon I. Stahl, who was a little older when he died (24), and was buried with this cryptic, evocative legend:
1940 - HOLY WEEK - 1964

We'll definitely be back!
The scenes on the way back to U.S. 180 were equally beautiful in the evening sunset.

We enjoyed hosting our friends Jack and Lydia Munro from Austin, TX, as they returned from their trip to Arches and Monument Valley. Good times with good friends! And, of course, we enjoy the critters in the back yard, like the young buck nipping fruits off the cholla behind the house. Amazing that he could just lean into that prickly jungle to get what he wanted!

While our friends were here, we took them out to see Fort Bayard and also went through the military cemetery. Always something new there to see and wonder about. Sgt. Bowman was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on mutinous scouts during the Army's battles with the Apaches.

We also enjoyed the one-man show, "Tuck," as Randy Carr played the part of Dan Tucker, deputy sheriff here from 1877 to 1888. It was at the Seedboat Gallery theater, which is likely to be the site of lots more performances as the owners develop it.

We've signed up for our WILL classes for this semester ... the Western Institute of Lifelong Learning at WNMU is a wonderful way to expand our mental horizons! As is the brown-bag lunch series sponsored on second Mondays at the Silver City Museum. In the one shown, Professor Magdaleno Manzanares of WNMU gave an informative talk on how New Mexico, 100 years old this year, is so different from Arizona and Texas in terms of Latino participation in politics.

So, life is good in Silver City! We need moisture ... there perennial mantra of the Southwest ... but it can hold off till we get back from SE Utah! tv