Shelley Armitage | Author
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Shelley’s Blog

I saw that long line those many years ago in the Centrum of Warsaw Poland.  On a gray Sunday, it curled out onto the cobblestones leading to one of the cathedrals downtown.  Always on foot, a moving target of sorts, I was alone on a Fulbright teaching grant for seven months, seeking to immerse myself in local culture.  Moving, seeking, always observing.  Weekends, when there was no class I sometimes went whole days without speaking.  My communication was to watch others, a secret sharer. It's Sunday, I thought, as...

There's a trail I like to take back of the small cluster of houses where I live outside Las Cruces.  If I can I walk it early mornings and evenings just before dark.  When I was a kid I did something similar, walking the pasture behind my parents' house.  On good days I'd spot a horny toad or two, ground squirrels, and puzzled over holes.  Did they harbor a rattlesnake? Here, near the Rio Grande, I'm entertained the same way: a prairie falcon one day, a Black Phoebe the...

It's the title of John Graves' 1960 memoir of his trip along the Brazos River before a series of dams forever changed its landscape.  And his. And ours. I'm reminded of what we all share of rivers altered and mostly forgotten when I see the Rio Grande near Las Cruces, New Mexico "turned off" each year.  Yes, the flow from Caballo Dam near Truth or Consequences is throttled usually in early fall, and by the end of October you cross a bridge over a mostly dry sandy river bed--save...