An attempt to get back on track here: San Soloman Springs, Texas. A 77,053 sq ft (7100 square meter) spring-fed swimming pool in the middle of nowhere. We had it all to ourselves.
I had a small panic attack at the end of last week when I realized it was Friday. How could the week be done already and what did I have to show for it? Well, a respectable amount, actually. I think my feelings had more to do with all of the things I didn’t get to because at the moment there is/are a lot of work/projects and it just isn’t possible to do it all and it is frustrating, that feeling of moving in slow motion, of not being able to get to it all.
So what to do? Whittle down? There are a couple of projects that could be pared down or retired. But none of that is your concern…unless you read this blog and I tell you that it is a time-sucker…and I found myself musing this weekend over its position on the priority list…
All that said, we were good and took a real break this weekend. Went to Padres bar on Friday night for a burger that was so so so good. Went to Alpine on Saturday for the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Drank coffee in town on Sunday while sitting in the sun.
And today is Monday. A brand new week.
We were playing it loose on day two in Terlingua—not really sure if we would stay or go or if we stayed, where we would stay. Then came an email from Kaci at Upstairs at the Mansion letting us know that she had an unexpected vacancy in her half-dilapitated 1909 boutique desert hotel.
We went up the hill to check it out and were immediately convinced that this was our place. While we were scoping it out, I took the first photo of Anthony with the hotel cat —a photo that lead to an offer from Instagram to write a post about taking pictures of other people taking pictures. You can read that here!
We spent the rest of our day taking photos around Terlingua. In the evening we sat on the porch with the other two guests (there are only two rooms to rent at the mansion—the others don’t have ceilings…or floors) until Kaci suggested we run down the hill to the Starlight, where somebody plays the fiddle on the porch as the sun goes down. Unfortunately we were a little slow and just missed that. Instead we made soup in the communal kitchen and stayed up late.
Nice news arrived over the weekend: one of my photos was featured on the Instagram blog. So a big thank you goes out to Instagram for the feature and a big boost in the number of people following the Field Office on our adventures.
It was an all-around fantastic weekend. We started at Marfa’s food truck the Food Shark with a lunch of falafel that was tasty but made me miss my Zweistrom. While we ate, Chet and his crew from The Daytripper started filming. We chatted a bit about what we are all up to (and yes, we have more films on the way even though it is taking forever). This kind of meeting is a good example of what makes Marfa special as a magnet for people from all over.
Took 67 south out of town. We drove along the Mexico/US border—the Rio Grande—on the tiniest, loneliest road you can imaging. It was so beautiful and so stunning because of its quietness and vastness; to be at the edge of two great lands is intense.
Napped at our place in Study-Butte, then rallied for what turned out to be a fun evening of dinner and music at the Starlight Theater. The band was from Alpine and the crowd was cutting it up on the dance floor. Anthony almost got crushed by a couple that whirled out of control and landed on him. He in turn fell back on me and I hit the wall. In the end, my beer still managed to stay upright on the table. Good times.
Yesterday we made a quick trip to Alpine under majestic skies. Didn’t actually go into the Dollar Store—rather our heads did a synchronized turn as we drove by, resulting a a break-slam and turn around maneuver.
Today we head to Terlingua and Marathon because the house is rented out for the weekend. At this point I am not only a little weary of packing and unpacking the suitcase but the office and the kitchen, too. On the other hand, I am curious to venture even further into the middle of nowhere and see what else there is to see here.
I’ve had a couple of slow realizations. They started the other day on our trip south of town when I saw the quiet contradiction of space in these parts: the horizon is huge and empty and the feeling of space is profound, but look closely and you realize that this tiny ribbon of road is all you’ve got because those open spaces are private land of which every inch is fenced in and protected by very serious no trespassing signs. Even the road feels restricted when you have to stop and go through the border patrol check point. The streets of this tiny town are the only place for…how many many miles?…that you are allowed to roam free.
And then there is the overall issue of spending time outside, which people don’t seem to generally do here. This is a small town, but there is hardly a person to be seen except in cars. Maybe this is because the weather is a crazy-maker: you go from hot to cold every other minute based on access to sun or shade and whether or not you are protected from the wind. The sun feels gloriously warm—until it starts to feel like a laser burning through your clothes. And this is February. Even if you are facing away from the sun, it is so bright and so intense that sunglasses are essential. The wind is constant and blows walls of dirt and sand across the street and through the yard, making sitting outside or taking a walk kind of a drag.
None of those things are very positive observations and that kind of surprises me—I didn’t expect to feel confined and cold in West Texas. Still I am glad we are here.
Yesterday: a little field trip to the library and then a spontaneous excursion further afield on highway 67, which heads south out of town. If you are up for just an hour’s drive, you could take it all the way to Mexico. Needless to say, we were not up for that drive. Also we barely had any gas in the tank. And out in these parts…well, just look at that landscape. There is nothing out here except a border patrol checkpoint and that crazy old sign for the Thunderbird Motel in Marfa.
Settling in. We’ve opted out of working in the “studio” room and moved operations into the dining room. Now we have a window to look out of while we work away…and that is key.
We pulled the car over. On one side of the empty road, the moon had risen above the mountains; on the other side, the sun had just a few minutes before it sunk below the horizon. In between was a tiny, storefront building. Its windows glowed, displaying a small assortment of shoes and handbags.
We had arrived at Prada Marfa after a long day of driving. Its appearance in the middle of nowhere was a fitting closure to our lonely drive. Earlier we had driven for hours on 180, hardly seeing another car. The only crazy happened at El Paso, when the traffic and the endless strip malls gave us flashbacks to LA. But all that quickly fell away to…nothing. There is really nothing out here.
We arrived in town after dark. There wasn’t a person to be seen, but windows glowed—even our rented house had a light on for us. We walked inside and flipped the light switch for each room. This is an old house and the rooms have been added on one at a time. It feels like a little cabin with its heirloom furniture, old appliances, and quirky details.
Coming here to this small town of 2000 people after LA, London, and Berlin is a shock. I am interested to see how it works for us. I have never lived in such a small and secluded place.