Roswell, NM

I write a variety of local, unique and historical articles. Military wife, Mother of two.

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Taos, NM

Taos, New Mexico

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Taos, New Mexico, situated in the north central region of New Mexico, got its name from a phrase in the indigenous Tiwa language meaning “place of the red willows.” In 1540, Spanish explorers searching for the fabled “Seven Cities of Gold” came upon the Taos Pueblo, a cluster of adobe dwellings, some five stories tall, that have housed the Tiwa for more than 1,100 years and constitute the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. Following Spanish conquest, a settlement grew, and the mission church of St. Francis of Assisi was built, which still stands today. At first relations between the Spanish and the Natives were amicable, however with the resentment of meddling by missionaries, the relations deteriorated, this would eventually lead to the 1680 pueblo revolt. With continuing tensions, adobe fortifications erected at the town’s center in 1796, which is now known as the Taos Plaza. American acquisition of New Mexico in 1847 triggered yet another insurrection at Taos. The region achieved territorial status in 1850, with Taos becoming known as the home of western scout Kit Carson. At the turn of the 19th century the town’s blend of native pageantry and Spanish tradition began attracting artists and writers, including D.H. Lawrence, Willa Cather and Georgia O’Keeffe. They would draw inspiration from the natural beauty of Taos. The mountains are rugged and beautiful. The nearby Rio Grande Gorge which descends about 800 feet, offers incredible rafting. Taos remains a vibrant center of creative expression, cultural diversity and is rich with spiritual traditions.

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The Mystery Marfa Lights of Texas

Weird mysterious lights in west Texas, known as the “Marfa Mystery Lights”, have been seen since the 1800s. Robert Reed Ellison, a young cowboy, reported sighting the lights in 1883. Robert Reed was driving cattle through Paisano Pass when he saw the lights, and he wondered if it was the campfire of the Apache Indians. Other settlers told him they often saw the lights, but that when they investigated, they found no ashes or other evidence of a campsite. The lights range in color, from yellow-orange, green, blue, and red. What is interesting, is that these lights have become so common with sightings, that in 2003 there were monitoring stations put in place. The Marfa Lights have become somewhat of an attraction, that tourists come to eagerly to witness this phenomenon. Is it UFOs and space aliens? Some skeptics will say the lights are the headlights of a car, but since these lights have been seen since the 1800s, that might not the case. The designated view to park for the lights is on the roadside south of U.S. Route 90 about 9 miles east of Marfa. Interestingly enough, the Marfa Army Airfield was once active in the area where American and Allied pilots were trained between 1942 and 1947. It was then used as a regional airport. Could that have anything to do with the lights? Some may even say it is just a mirage caused by sharp temperature gradients between cold and warm layers of air. Would you like to see the lights? These lights are visible on many clear nights between Marfa and Paisano Pass as one looks towards the Chinati Mountains. Gazing out over the wide plain, the Mitchell Flat, that empties southward into the dark mountains of Mexico on U.S route 67, off U.S Highway 90. The truth may very well be out there!

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Finding Polaris, the North Star

What makes the North Star so special? Well, it is the only object in the sky that does not appear to move and is noticeably the brightest star visible to the naked eye. Polaris is probably one of the most famous and useful stars in the heavens. Of the thousands of stars visible to the naked eye, it ranks a respectable 45th in brightness. It is bright enough to appear in polluted city skies and on clear nights, it is visible to most of Earth's humans. Polaris is a unique star as it sits within a single degree of the celestial pole, the precise motionless spot in the sky around which everything pivots. And for all practical purposes, is precise, showing us true north. It is no ordinary star; it's a giant. At about 440 light-years away, it lies four times farther than the Big Dipper's two pointer stars that guide our eyes to it. Polaris shines so bright; it emits the light of thousands of Suns. Even more remarkable is that Polaris's north rotation pole is located dead center to our observations. This means that we are its "north star"! So how do we find Polaris the North Star? The easiest way to find it, is to first locate the Big Dipper. It is visible throughout the year-highest up to spring and quite low in autumn. The Big Dipper has a curved handle and a bowl. Find the two stars at the edge of the bowl that's farthest from the handle. Follow a line from the star at the base of the bowl through the star at the top of the edge onward to a single star that's the same brightness as they are- that's Polaris!

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