Marfa and the Lights

December 9, 2011

On the Road

I woke up curious this morning. Curious to see where exactly we had “tumbled in” last night.

After all, last night we only could see the strange little “office”.

The sky outside was as strange as the town. Large dark but not unfriendly clouds billowed as far as the eye could see. Barb wire fenced stretched as far as the sky. Cars and cinder blocks lay forgotten. Just as I had thought last night, the Airstream with an overturned grill across from us was vacant as was the humble cabover camper on the other side of the campground.

We were the only ones there.

Alone with only the company of an occasional passing train.

It was slightly unnerving but completely exhilarating to feel the desolation in the wind.

After a morning of school and work, we ventured into town. Marfa was founded in the 1880s. Nearly a hundred years later, minimalist artist, Donald Judd moved to Marfa making Marfa what it is today.  A word of advice if you visit Marfa- go on a weekend, almost everything is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I was extremely disappointed to find out the modern art museum, The Chinati Foundation, was closed.  Regardless, we had a wonderful time exploring the mostly empty streets peering into the galleries and shops.  The folk at El Cosmico also made us feel and home welcomed us to explore their amazing grounds.

Marfa is a strange town.  The friend who told me about it described it as “a tiny town where blue-collar oil workers live next to Williamsburg art kids.” It’s a place where farm trucks are parked next retro beach cruisers. Where you can walk out from an art gallery to a view of a grain mill. Where skinny jeans and Wranglers are both equally appropriate.

It’s hard to tell what is really old and what has been restored to look really old.

Marfa is every bit as charming as it is odd. I didn’t quite know what to make of it.

I asked a girl with a short platinum blond hair, who I would guess to be about 23, if she was orginally from Marfa. As I expected she wasn’t. Then I asked her what is was like living here. “Twin Peak-sy“, she said.

For dinner, we enjoyed pizza at the Pizza Foundation which is an old converted gas station. Afterwards, we headed over to Frama, a laundry mat/ice cream/coffee shop for an after dinner sweet. Finally, we drove outside of town to view the famous Marfa Lights. It was cold and windy but still fun.  The Marfa Lights turned out to be the Marfa Light, one green flicker that faded in and out on the horizon.

I liked Marfa but I wanted to love Marfa.  What I loved was the desolation of West Texas and the architecture but something about Marfa seemed, I don’t know, contrived. Just a tiny bit. Not utterly and completely contrived but I didn’t fall in love with it the way I did Jerome or Madrid. Regardless, it was worth the effort to get there (it is out in the middle of nowhere) and perhaps if we would have come on a weekend I would have felt differently. Or perhaps not with all the tourists.

Funny though as I write this I feel myself longing to go back. Maybe it was the lights.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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About jennincat

I'm Jenn and I'm so happy you stopped by our little corner of the web. My favorite moments are cuddling with my boys, listening to the purrs of my cat, and sipping warm cups of tea. The smell of orange blossoms conjures up delightful memories of childhood even though I grew up in Indiana hundreds of miles from citrus groves. I love animals and when I'm stressed I dream of owning a goat farm. I love art, road trips, books, and food. Vintage clothes make me ridiculously happy. Red lipstick is my friend.

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5 Responses to “Marfa and the Lights”

  1. Crystal Genes Says:

    Interesting to read about your Marfa experience as well! We also ate at the Pizza Foundation and while, aside from the nightmare storm experience, I loved the El Cosmico, I was also a little disappointed to have not fallen in love with Marfa as a town. Oh well. I guess that’s how it keeps it’s deserted mystique… It chooses who it lets fall in love with it :)

    Reply

  2. wandering educators Says:

    those baby heads in vases are super creepy. but the light – oh, the light seems amazing in that town!

    Reply

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