The day started early with roosters crowing in the desert, strong coffee, and a glorious sunrise. There were traces of ice, delicate like lace, on the car, but inside the house we had slept well. Don’t get me wrong, we were ready to get out of there, yet happy to have experienced at least one unforgettable desert sunrise.
Our first stop was the Prada store in the middle of nowhere. Here we took the requisite pictures, but my dad was not impressed. He did, however, see the charm of the little post office in Valentine, as remote as our house had been, or maybe even more so, yet surprisingly open.
We proceeded to the Fort Davis scenic loop, which was the highlight of our experience. It was so very beautiful! We even saw some very friendly deer, and got to stop at the McDonald Observatory, a place we both found fascinating. Apparently the observatory uses mirrors to see the stars. Mirrors seemed to be a theme to our experience in the desert. This surreal space, a confluence of scientists, fans of sci-fi, and cutting edge art, seems to be all about mirrors and reflections. Donald Judd’s metal sculptures at the Chinati Foundation are mirrors of sorts. As to the mysterious Marfa lights, which we did go see after dark, after a lovely dinner at the Holland Hotel in Alpine where we found much more comfortable lodging, they’re probably reflections too, a product of the desert air creating mirror images of lights from faraway places. Or perhaps they are, indeed a miracle, a thing to see but not truly understand. On our way to the lights we saw a coyote. It crossed the road, its fur glimmering silver. It was a beautiful animal. I remember the symbolism of the coyote. The shape-shifter and trickster brings transformation, new beginnings. I remember trying to channel his energy at the beginning of the Escapist Mentorship Program, an experience I was hoping would transform me, and which did. But perhaps it took a trip to the desert and some reflection to truly embrace the newness of it all.
Here’s a passage from my upcoming novel, Lone Wolf, about the Marfa lights: