DAY 1 – LEAVING TOWN/ MARFA, TX
As we took one last look around the house, to make sure our supplies were in order and that we hadn’t forgotten that one most important thing, I began to feel a bit anxious. This is actually happening, the whole plan is coming to fruition. We shot one of the short films that we will be shooting on this trip, said our goodbyes, and we were off. The act itself was quite simple actually, we got in the car, and drove. As we ventured east on the 60, past the streets I know and then onto the streets I’ve only seen labeled on maps, I began to feel it. I was joking around with Josh and we were excited and still in awe that we are attempting to do this thing, when I could feel a sense of detachment. It was a tangible feeling, almost physical, like I was being peeled of the skin of something that didn’t need me anymore, maybe something that never needed me. I began to feel freer and more hopeful about really any sort of possibilities that could come our way.
We began to start taking pictures after we exited the Phoenix metro area and we also talked about life, the past, and what could possibly lie ahead. We stopped in Safford, Arizona to grab some coffee and so I could post the first video I made that I had finished editing on the first leg of our trip. The restaurant was almost entirely staffed by people with mental disabilities, and there were a lot of them working even though the restaurant was virtually empty. It was really strange since one wouldn’t expect this type of situation in a small down in the middle of desert nowhere, but everyone was really nice, I got the video posted, and we were on our way. We drove through southern New Mexico and into Las Cruces to stop for gas and caffeine. We both agreed, southern New Mexico was really ugly and not very pleasant to drive through at all. We continued on through El Paso, Texas, another really ugly place, so far so good. Although as we drove through El Paso we could see into Ciudad Juarez, I mean, it was literally right next to us, another country. As we stared into this foreign land of Mexico we could see several fires burning in the city. Many people have suggested that they were trash burnings, I will have to disagree. Those fires were far too large to be burning trash. It did cause me to realize how fortunate I am to be on the other side of the border right now.
We continued driving and headed towards Marfa, famous for it’s lights. I had read about Marfa years and years ago and most recently it was in a Ben Lerner book I read and for some reason I’ve just always wanted to go there. Logistically it also made sense, it was about the halfway point between Tempe and Austin.
It seemed like we were driving forever, in part because we were, in part because I don’t think we are used to this sort of marathon driving. We go into town around 10pm and noticed that there was a lack of hotels in the Marfa area to choose from and all of the ones that had vacancies were pretty expensive. We went over to the Marfa lights viewing platform (picture on this page) to try to see what we could.
I’m not sure we saw the Marfa lights, maybe we did, who knows. We certainly saw some strange lights in the distance. It didn’t matter though. I meditated in pitch darkness in virtual isolation which was wonderful and the sky, oh man the sky. I’ve never seen the Milky Way like quite like I saw it in Marfa. It was so vast, and detailed, and bright and beautiful I was immediately hit with the question “How can we top this?”, but this of course was Day 1. We slept in the car in front of the building/viewing platform since it was a long day and we needed to conserve funds. We awoke in the morning, took a quick tour of the town and drove off into the great unknown, aka Texas.