Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Oh my!

Oh Marfa, just as dreamy as I remember it.

Last week my Sister and I decided to go on a last minute mission to Marfa. We talked about taking the trip since this Summer but could never really "find the time", so we simply "made" the time. We shuffled and cleared our schedules to travel together for a few days.

DAY 1: We drove, in the pitch black of the night, to Marfa, Texas, through the windy dark roads of the Davis Mountains to our first destination: Thunderbird Hotel!

We arrive at the Thunderbird, explored our minimal, modern, yet vintage feeling hotel room (Marci thought it was more like "a dorm room") and then drove 10 minutes outside of Marfa to find the "Mystery Lights". And find them we did! At the Marfa Lights observation point we ventured out into the cold night air along with a handful of other spectators. One person saw a light and said "look there it is!!" as we all stared in complete awe and silence at the tiny light dancing across the landscape in front of us and then it disappeared just as quickly as it appeared. Soon after, another light appeared! Then two lights! Each light appearing on the horizon, moving, and then disappearing into thin air. wow!

I have been to Marfa a few times, but can't recall ever being impacted by the visibility of the night sky in lovely West Texas until now. The sky seems larger, brighter, and closer out there. The night sky was pitch black, powerful, and absolutely gorgeous. Definitely a sight, a vision, that seems more like a dream now. 
At one point I turned to my Sister and said "I feel so small out here."

The stars spread from the horizon in the east all the way across the sky to the horizon in the west. They were bright and seemed so close, so alive. We saw 4 shooting stars.
As we drove back into town, we saw even more Marfa Mystery Lights along the way. Dancing on the horizon beside the highway.

After our Mystery Lights adventure, we found a place in town called Planet Marfa where we stopped to have a drink and sit under a teepee warmed by a fire. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day.

DAY 2: We woke up and had a lovely breakfast at the Thunderbird Lodge. The meal was complete with organic and non-dairy milks, tea/coffee, cereal, berry fruit salad, and toast. All served family style in large bowl with recycled compostable utensils and plates.

Then, off to the Chinati Foundation! We toured the first 2 buildings of Judd's collection: 100 aluminum works housed in two converted Fort D.A. Russell artillery sheds.
The works were minimal, modern, yet timeless -- and completely beautiful. Our tour group was 6 people so we were able to take our time in each building. The aluminum works were each different and unique in their own ways. Some straight rectangles with opening on the long or short sides, some with one side recessed back into the piece, and others with only 3 sides, inner rectangles, slanted walls, negative space, and so much more. Each piece measuring 51" x 41" was symmetrically installed between the building's columns and large floor tiles. Juxtaposed against the custom windows that Judd installed that measured 5x4'. Hmmmm..

Outside we could see Judd's cast concrete "boxes" in the distance just off Highway 67. The permanent pieces were some of Judd's first pieces in the area.

We saw Dan Flavin's work as well. (No commentary about said works.)

Then off to Fat Lyle's food trailer where we had the most delicious cucumber and tomato sandwiches!
After lunch our plan was to drive out to Cibolo Creek Ranch "just outside Marfa" and meet our guide for an afternoon of horseback riding! How exciting!

The scenery was beautiful!
We got lost. very lost. We wound up in Shafter, Texas... 20 minutes from Mexico. Eeeeek!
We followed the vehicle's GPS which basically led us to a dead-end off a dirt road. Our options were to continue past the dead end into an area with a "No Trespassing" sign or backtrack. Shafter looked like a forgotten shanty town or a scene from a very scary movie about flesh eating zombies. We decided to backtrack. Quickly!!

There was absolutely no cell service in the area until we got back to the highway and used the vehicle's On-Star service to call Cibolo Creek Ranch directly. We received directions and realized that we probably missed the turn because we were so enthralled with the scenery. aaaand the Cibolo sign was tiny!

Finally. We made it to our destination: Cibolo Creek Ranch, a "Historic Texas Legacy" founded in 1857  turned luxury resort.

We met our real cowboy guide, Dennis, for a tour of the property via horseback! The air was crisp and clean, the sky was huge, the area was vast. Absolutely perfect.

View of Cibolo Creek Ranch,  a tiny Oasis in the middle of no where.

We finished Day 2 with a communal meal served in the large common dining room where we met the 4 other resort guests. A couple from Taos and another from San Diego.
It was night by the time we finished eating and pitch black outside. We tip-toed through the property to find our room. Marci started a fire in the fireplace in our room and we snuggled up in our side by side twin beds to the sounds of the crackling fire.

DAY 3: After communal style breakfast of waffles, toast, baked potato fries, and green tea we headed out to Marfa, past Marfa!, to Valentine, past Valentine! to the tiny, strange, and quaint Prada Marfa just off Highway 90. A seemingly temporary yet permanent sculpture. The artists deemed this work "pop architectural land art project."

Our journey continued back through Marfa to Alpine where I was reunited with a few sculptures of my own. This story will be an entirely new blog entry ;) in the near future..

We mapped out our travel home as best we could with a torn map of Texas that I have owned for at least 12 years. Again, we were messmerized by the scenery and...

... got pulled over for speeding. Whoops.
The police officer was very nice and helpful as we explained that "We're from Lubbock!". He let us off with a warning and even showed us a quicker route on the map that would have us back to Lubbock in 4.5 hours!

Again, we traveled through the black of night towards our destination: Home.

This trip was an adventure filled with excitement, surprise, awe, wonder, beauty, appreciation, and left me with the sense of contentment in my heart. I absolutely love this life and feel blessed to have a wonderful traveling partner that is up for absolutely anything!

I feel inspired to travel, create, see, and remember this trip fondly forever.