Had a nice experience although very hot experience at Big Bend National Park.
First was the river road from Presidio, TX along the Rio Grande to Terlingua
Then arriving at my wonderful cabin, which looks out over the “Window”.
Did the “Balanced Rock” hike, which was perfect in this heat, flat, not too long, 2.3 mi. roundtrip. The surroundings made me think of a Western movie.
Some photos on the way to Santa Elena Canyon. It is hot hot summer and hazy. River low. My timing in photo not good, but in case you would like to see the brilliance of the 2 rock masses, one in Mexico, and one in the US, giving way to a river, I include a shot. To me the river symbolizes a needed break in the current negativity towards Mexico, as hope flows along like a river.
some photos taken on Window trail
lastly a quick couple of shots of an old home settled at the bottom of a canyon in the park.
Always happy when a well adorned train is stalled in Marfa.
Had a chance to visit LA. Marfa is having an effect on me, all I wanted to do is see art and eat, and boy did I do that. Great, great city, suffering from high rents and homelessness. I am not sure what is going on there, but it is scary and it seems to revolve around high rents, which is becoming a problem in Marfa too. Maybe it is everywhere.
Had a little vacay, and wanted to share.
At this time in my life, Santa Fe felt hectic, and as it was a busy weekend, full to the brim with tourists. Narrow streets and many cars. I am thankfully becoming a small town girl.
Abiquiu, New Mexico on the other hand was unpopulated, gorgeous, and felt really good .
I will share some photos.
I have stared at Cuidad Juarez for years from the safety (??) of I10 in El Paso. The news told of murders, cartels, danger. What I saw from the highway were eroded adobe houses in many colors, and dust. I always wanted to walk those streets and see what was up over there, perhaps because it was a no no. When some Marfa friends decided to check it out, I did not hesitate. I was in.
We parked in El Paso and walked across thus avoiding lines of cars and we literally walked right in, no problem. Me wheeling my suitcase click click click, displaying my red money bag around my neck, while my more saavy friends carried backpacks, I told them “do not tease me about this”. . and they complied. If anyone were going to be taken out, it would have been me, the very obvious and slightly nervous tourist. But I live to tell. The people we met in CJ seemed pretty Americanized to me, lots of English spoken and dollars taken alongside pesos. They are a bridge away from El Paso and in better times, probably went back and forth a lot. Parts of CJ were totally modern, with American fat and sugar filled chains and Walmart crap merchandise widely available. You’re welcome Mexico. Better hurry and get health care.
We Ubered through a fairly battered less charming area of town, to a market centered around a big church with many shops and restaurants. We walked and walked finding great restaurants, sunglasses, trinkets, snacks, you name it.
I can’t speak intelligently to the “problems” they have had in CJuarez or to the dangers that are publicized. From my viewpoint the people could not have been nicer. This is not a hugely important breakthrough, only one little experience that goes along with what I believe, which is that Mexico is our neighbor and friend. And the people are nice as hell.
One young Uber driver said he wanted to get his citizenship in order to study at UTEP. A shoe shine man had spent 7 lousy years in jail for his second crossing into the US. There was smattering of begging. Nobody enjoys begging, they just have to do it to survive sometimes.
My fears fell away to be replaced by positive experiences with each encounter that we had. People did not look at us, or act like we were out of place.
I plan to return very soon to an amazing restaurant, Maria Chuchena. It was out of this world.
No I am not having another one of my moments.
“Hello Nothing” refers to the wonderful feeling that I get when I return to Marfa from “other places”.
This latest (mid-July 2016) I had a whim to check out a swimming hole in Bracketville, Texas and then on to Houston to see the Menil Collection. As it happened there was an exhibit by Cartier Bresson at the Menil, one of my all time favorite photographers. (That show has ended). The Bresson show was one of those happy accidents, or god nudging me back on track. Anyway, the swimming hole was first. It is located at Ft. Clark an old fort in Bracketville which is 30 minutes outside Del Rio. This place was fantastic. Rooms are cheap at the fort and the swimming is terrific. Spring fed pool, cold water, not too many people especially in the first half of the day.
OK well not a lot to say about Houston in the summer. The Menil was great but Houston is a hot mess. My feeling was, come to Houston, home of 2 million people and 1 million parking places. Have fun. I spent a lot of time in limbo or near death in my car. I also made a fundamental mistake trying to use Iphone maps to get around. That map ladies voice gets real quiet when you are going the wrong way and you are like Oh shit. The Menil was peaceful but the rest of Houston was really hard to take. The galleria made me remember my life in Dallas. I had to circle and circle in the outdated and un modern parking lot waiting for someone to leave it was so crowded. Like you condensed all the stores and restaurants from the Interstate into one big tragic shopping spree.
I would like to take a moment to express a new love of smaller highways. For about half the trip I was on a small highway and was enjoying the scenery, could pull over any time, endured very little traffic but yikes, when I got on the Interstate it was a whole new ball game. Way more traffic, and way more in the way of the very latest in crappy fast food and all of humanity was hungry and needed to pee. Going through small towns it’s quieter because most everything is closed. The small towns haven’t recovered from the damage done by Dollar Store and McDonalds which closes everyone down. A small town store can be closed because it has not been open in decades, it can be closed because they left for a minute, it can be closed because they have a custom schedule, or it can be closed. On the interstate everything is open.
Anyway, on the drive back to Marfa, once I hit that small highway the weight off my shoulders was huge. The sickness and fear that pervaded the pit of my stomach in Houston gradually gave way to happiness.
wavy agave at some garden park in Houston
It is Spring in Marfa which means that anything loose in your backyard is going to get launched into orbit. Your hair becomes an alien dried out, blown out eye tickler. Dusty windy and high risk of static cat shock.
People flock to Marfa to get married. It is as if the desert quiet and beauty will give a couple a better start to their city lives. This weekend we had many art openings, a big wedding, music, and I saw Kevin Bacon and his wife.
They are here shooting a TV pilot. How can it not work with Kevin Bacon. Schools out, flowers are blooming, no reason to be grumpy. Not that I need a reason.
Marfa is located in the Chihuahuan desert. It is feast or famine here. In a dry year, the lack of water is real hard on the wildlife. Right now things are pretty good. Our desert gets the summer monsoon type of rain so Spring is a waiting game, a windy waiting game which eventually gets hot and then late in summer brings hope and then rain. It comes down in torrents for weeks and that is our water for the year more or less.
Marfa is a feast of art. A feast of creative people, and a feast of freedom.
(The not so hidden meaning in this post is that I like Marfa.)
People in Marfa are independent and tough. They can walk around with 10 stickers in their foot, get hit by a cattle truck, denied lunch, bit by a rattlesnake, blown around in 30 mph winds, denied pizza, burned by the sun, denied medical care and say fuck it and do it the next day. Things are not convenient here. If you need something you can post it online now and gather ideas from the community, but you have to be kind of scrappy and inventive. When new people move here they are bursting with ideas to make Marfa better. This gets chipped away little by little. As I know Marfa more and more, I meet more locals, learn names, what people do, the personal side of things. Life here is personal.
Anyway…People here are tough and weedy. It is not easy to get here, and it is not always easy to stay here. The tough remain. They pop back up and flower over and over again. The Marfa locals, a select bunch of funny and imaginative people have the space, time and quiet to expand their creativity while being nurtured by a palpable air of acceptance and humor within the community. These creative people put themselves out there artistically over and over, you have to admire the fortitude.
I myself am easily distracted.
It is tempting and easy to watch and admire. It is harder to “do”. My attention to my work and interests is delicate. It blows in the wind, blows away, blows by, becomes visible, then blows away again..
I need to stay here and work this out.
This little water tower is sort of hard to shoot. It is surrounded by houses and power lines, but as you can see it is appealing. It is a constant. A little tin man cheering me up daily and nightly, and providing water too.
Well since this is the first posting for me this year 2016, Happy New Year.
Marfa is growing a little. We have a new hotel which will be ready in March, and there are more and more people moving here. I like it, it’s OK. Apparently there are more people than me who like art, peace and quiet, dry air, wine under the stars, roadrunners, javalinas, and tumbleweeds. This reminds me that in Alpine (one town over) this afternoon a cowboy type guy said that everyone in Marfa was “weird”. When my friend said “define weird” he pointed his alcohol induced wrath at Donald Judds’ cement boxes and said they were not art. He outweighed me by a lot and seemed rather convinced of himself so I reserved my own words on behalf of Donald Judd for the drive home. I love this funny little town and feel that it is perfectly wonderful. And so do a lot of other people. Alpine you suck. These photos are from the last 2 days, it has been cloudy.