Tuesday, July 6, 2010

desert rain, art and Australian hospitality

"the city's been our cage, but we can be each others' key" - Cody Dylan

there was a wall of water as we rounded the tenth curve in the west Texas mountains, and an anticipation in my bones was mounting. four J's for the fourth of July couldn't have been more appropriate. but for me, more than the holiday, more than the friends, more than the landscape was my escape. even if for a moment, i escaped the city. i escaped constant connection. i was a free man for 3 days.

freedom is a funny thing though...

i tuck inside my shell often as i approach a place of realization. it's not that i want to deny any outside perspectives, but i think epiphany is often a quiet lover who will only reveal herself if you sit still and listen intently. but this place, this freedom, this quiet, it's a lot to take when what's par for the course is a barrage of noise, people, and movement. stillness is scary to a shaker.

but thank God for the rain.

there's not many things in this world that can so gently force me into a calm, but rain is one of them. never does noise sound so peaceful. but it helps me breathe. funny how that happened for us this weekend in the desert.

as the rain came down we found ourselves huddled under an awning eating from a shark with strangers. there were puppies and babies and couples embracing to keep warm. i saw a familiar face and after a timid approach made plans for that evening at the bar in Marfa, Padres. as the rain subsided a little we left to find some art galleries. it was an odd feeling driving and walking through a deserted desert town (average annual income is less than 10k) looking for galleries where the pieces hanging were worth more than the buildings in which they hung.

we saw 12' canvases painted with pictures of 9/11 from the perspective of a child. we saw resin casts of books and cats.

on a quest for a meth lab we instead found a hanging ball and strings held by rings.

the back yard of the gallery that once was a meth lab installation was interesting and intriguing. there were remnants of the rain that had just fallen pooled up on parts of the installation. other parts of it were hanging in re-adjusted repose from the wind that just rearranged them.

we spent time in a book store listening to odd music and flipping through books on art, Marfa and James Dean.

i went on a quest to find where the Reata was located.

this old house was used in filming the classic movie Giant starring James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor. i saw photos of the building and hoped to find it, but learned in the bookstore that the house was no longer standing. so instead we went to find an old abandoned Army Air Field.

we found the location of it but arrived to a barbed wire fence blocking us from it.

over this same field is where the famed Marfa Lights were to be seen. we tried for two nights to see them but saw nothing except a radio tower and distant head lights.

our next day was the 4th. we had a relaxing day of driving and playing in the rain. we found an abandoned building to play in from which we watched another wall of rain come at us from the distance. rain in the desert is just amazing. really amazing. later that night we met up with our Australian friends that we met the night before. they invited us to their campsite for dinner. it was a delicious meal with some really nice people. after we ate, one of the Australians, Cody, and I swapped songs. this man was amazing. such a great singer and song writer. [note: the quote up top is from his song Evelyn] they will be in Austin this week and i'm excited to spend some more time with them. we got shut down at their campsite and moved our party to the Marfa lights viewing area where we continued to sing and shoot off fireworks. before the night began, we were in our hotel room and i was contemplating just sitting in our room for the night. i felt exhausted and anti social, but i forced myself to go and thank God i did. this was the best night of the trip and so many great things came out of it.

the next day we packed up and began our journey home back east. this trip was short but so sweet. my mind was cleared and my soul was satisfied to be in the desert. i'll put some more photos up on my facebook page so if you're friends with me there, well, then lucky you.

now, i just need to continue living my freedom while in the cage of this city...