I’ve Been Working

I’ve been workin’
I’ve been workin’ so hard

I’ve been workin’
I’ve been workin’ so hard

……. by Van Morrison

I wanted to write a blog because Marfa had a special Labor Day.

It was a Ballroom Marfa symposium called Carbon 13 with a weekend full of art and lectures concerning climate change and sustainability.


5:30 pm: Marfa Lights Festival parade
6-8 pm: Carbon 13 Opening at Ballroom Marfa
8-10 pm: Community dinner at the Capri

9:30 am: FarmStand Marfa
1 pm: Discussion: Art and Environmental Activism, moderated by Rebecca Solnit at the Crowley Theater
3 pm: Discussion: Climate Change and Adaptation, with Diana Liverman and John Nielsen-Gammon at the Crowley Theater
6 pm: Michael Pollan in conversation with Hamilton Fish at the Crowley Theater, co-presented withThe Dixon Water Foundation

7-8:30 am: Sunrise at Chinati Foundation
9-11 am: Brunch and guided nature walk on Mimms Ranch with Robert Potts and Bonnie J. Warnock
1 pm: Reading by Rebecca Solnit at Marfa Book Company
3.30 pm: Presentation by Tom Rand at Marfa Book Company
8 pm: Performance of This Clement World by Cynthia Hopkins at the Crowley Theater

So I went to about half of it.


Then I went to the Marfa Lights Festival. I have to say, the food was greasy and overpriced, and the booths were creepy. I do not know where these booth people come from but it is far from Marfa I can tell you. Crap merchandise, toys and gangster t-shirts. I guess I took it personally but they disliked photos and there was even a sign at one booth “No Photos”. UH…. it’s a festival… and every other person has a camera. Is this some kind of worry that I am going to duplicate that hideous plastic toy with my camera? So, I was miffed about that.

The art at Ballroom Marfa was exceptional as usual. All based on Global Warming and Environmental Issues. One artwork was just a big old engine running and running in their courtyard. It got a strong point across.

Michael Pollan’s talk was outstanding. He is funny and hopeful but carries a bleak message about sugar consumption and how it leads to chronic diseases and huge medical costs. Also talked about calories as far as how much energy is used to produce certain packaged foods. The packaging costing way more than the farming. Salmon that is flown to China to be filleted and then flown back. Beef uses the most energy. This is a terrible account of the talk. It was filmed but I’m sure it’s not ready for prime time yet.

This whole blog is written just so I can post these photos of Rebecca Solnit. She is an author (13 books, activist, scholar). She wrote a great book about the photographer Edward Muybridge called “River of Shadows” which is truly excellent. She is a supporter of many causes including the “Occupy” movement which will be celebrating it’s one year anniversary in September. She contributes to a blog called “TomDispatch” Please see the story there called “Men Explain Things to Me”.
Women will appreciate it.

Last but not least, a nice talk about better ranching techniques which was taught by a professor at Sul Ross University in Alpine called Bonnie Warnock.
It was a great talk about grassland restoration, fire, correct cattle management in the desert, grasses, and all with an emphasis of not using pesticides or chemicals. All changes to rangeland can be made by organic methods. Overgrazed or drought damaged land can be worked with but it does require rain. Pasture land doesn’t get watered.

Thank you Ballroom Marfa for my best Labor Day Weekend Ever, I am quite serious about that.
Then Chili and I went for a walk tonight and are hopeful for the future, rainbow and all.
(We didn’t get the rain this time though.)
Cautious optimism and hope, not dispair about all of it.


One thought on “I’ve Been Working

  1. Sounds like an amazing Labor Day! And as usual Ballroom Marfa delivers. I love Rebecca Soinit and that you got to meet her!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: