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Just Call Me MAM

I wrote MAM's musings weekly for almost 10 years. I began it with the Silver City Sun-News. When the editor who had taken on the column left the paper, I offered it to the Silver City Daily Press, and the editor, Richard Correa, grabbed it. Since early 2001, it appeared every Friday in the Daily Press, with the exception of two times that I recall. I'll update it as new sightings happen, so check regularly.

So MAM's musings has been re-created as Just Call Me MAM with a similar topic and musings about the outdors.

It comprises my observations and my opinion.

By Mary Alice Murphy

I haven't heard frogs in years in our nearby arroyo, but they were sure sounding off this evening.

I guess getting a little over an inch of rain over the past few days has given the frogs something to sing about again.

I took our dog Jackie out for her last business trip. In the still air of evening, I could hear the two-tonal croaking of at least one frog and maybe more than one.

comet neowise 1416Photo Courtesy of Dr. Nicholas Mittica

By Mary Alice Murphy

In case you haven't heard about Comet Neowise, it has shown up in our portion of the sky. It should be around into August before leaving and not showing up for another estimated 7,000 or so years.

So, since I don't expect to be around next time it shows up, yesterday evening I stayed up late, beyond my normal bedtime. I knew it would need to be pretty dark before I could see the comet.

By Mary Alice Murphy

Well, it wasn't actually midnight, but I like alliteration.

This time of year, with the windows open at night to let in cooler air, I often hear deer clomping around on the gravel around our fruit trees.

But last night, around 1:30 a.m., I heard something different. Not the usual hooves, but more like the scritch of toenails.

Then I heard more weird sounds, this time coming from the plum tree.

Hope and Hank Williams, Jr. at Emory Pass

Text and Photos by Roberta Brown

ihxs6jtbroote04tvwbtcgIt's a truism that teachers learn as much from their students as their students learn from them, and sometimes more. Today, on a drive to Emory Pass, I remembered a student who graduated a few years back, and wondered how he was doing. He was an older student who had returned to college, was extremely excited to be there, and unlike some younger ones who take a while to feel comfortable in college courses, he settled in quickly, writing freely about his life and experiences.

We Are All the Lady of Shalott
Guest column by Roberta Brown

For the past few weeks, other than working from home, I have been transfixed by the unfolding story of the pandemic that has changed nearly everything. While not working, I watched or read the news, growing sadder each day. Then, this morning, while teaching a class by means of the videoconferencing software Zoom, something in me shifted.

My students and I were reading Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Lady of the Shalott which tells the story of a maiden trapped in a tower by a curse; if she looks out the window or leaves the tower, "the curse [will] come upon her." In a mirror that she uses to weave tapestries, she at least is able to see reflections of the world, and is so enamored with them, that she weaves these reflected scenes into art. People in all stations of society from the gallant knights of Camelot, to the clergy, schoolchildren, and lovers walking on the road, and farmers working in the fields are reflected in the Lady of Shalott's weaving mirror. The turning point in the poem arrives when The Lady of Shalott realizes that she is "half sick of shadows" and decides to risk the curse. She looks out the window, her mirror cracks, she ventures outside and eventually dies, but not before living on her own terms for at least a brief time.

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