In response to the weekly Photo Challenge: “Symmetry.”
In response to the weekly Photo Challenge: “Symmetry.”
The clear, clean sky over Marfa is a deep shade of blue, striking in its intensity. The town is small; a visitor can easily walk from one end of town to the other in an hour’s time. The horizon, however, seems infinite, unobstructed by a city skyline and stretching effortlessly across the desert. It’s impossible to get lost in this small town, but very likely for one to get lost in the deep blue sky overhead.
This small town is quite the drive through Texas. Even if you fly into Midland, the closest city, you still have to drive three hours through the mountains and into the desert. It’s hard to get there, but once I’m there, it’s even harder for me to leave.
These small towns out in the Texas desert provide a sanctuary where thoughts can stretch with the horizons and rise with the desert mountains up toward the deep blue sky.
In response to The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge: “Depth.”
I took the Amtrak east, and then drove with Dad down East Texas roads, exploring tiny towns nestled in the big Piney Woods.
Over the summer, I took the Amtrak to East Texas, and joined my father for a day trip to Henderson, Texas, a small town near the Piney Woods.
A drive through East Texas is different from drives in a city. The routes are two-lane highways that curve through farm land and are bordered on both sides by forests of pine trees. The pine trees in East Texas never cease to thrill me, and I often feel as though they knowingly mock the city with their tall slender beauty, growing gracefully toward the sky.
“Take that, City Girl. Your high-rise buildings have nothing on us.”
And it’s true.
I asked my father to drive me through town, hoping to glimpse a view of a small-town square and snap a few photos. The square was exactly as I’d envisioned, but it was a cemetery near the middle of town that caught my eye.
Like the pine trees in the surrounding forests, the grave stones, too, rose toward the heavens–beautiful marble statues directing those over whom they kept watch.
As my father waited patiently in his air conditioned car, I walked beneath a hot summer sun, dusting off graves to see the dates. Many stones revealed dates back to the early 1800s, and I tried to envision these early settlers of a small, East Texan town, wondering if any might be my own ancestors–my presence proof that their lives continue beyond the grave.
The grave I found most striking was a statue of Justitia, the Roman goddess of Justice, marking the grave of Judge William Wright Morris, for whom Morris County is named. Goddesses and angels stood guard over many, stoically withstanding time. Some of the smaller grave stones, however, had crumbled or fallen, perhaps a result of age or the boredom of young kids in a small town.
The Henderson City Cemetery was well worth the brief half-hour I spent walking through 100-degree heat. Like the pine trees leading into town, this tiny cemetery, tucked so quietly away, is strikingly beautiful in a most subtle and graceful way.
Note: This is an older post, originally written on a blog I’ve since retired. I also posted this on my map tia page.
Sunset at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a space within the city to withdraw from the commotion, where hymns carry you away from the cacophony outside, and where looking out over the water allows you to look within.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Serenity.”
It was a frigid New Year’s Eve in the Davis Mountains. Winter blanketed the mountains, and the white fog crept closer to the Indian Lodge. Where we should have looked up into an infinite celestial sky and out into the desert mountain range, we looked instead into nothingness.
This white fog of winter covered all until all was obsolete.
I awoke at night and looked outside, attempting to discern the mountains or the trees, but looked only into the nothingness of winter; it felt bleak and lonely for a moment, but then, even my loneliness was swallowed by the silent frozen fog.
Looking into the nothingness, I felt nothing looking back at me—the mountain and I were suspended in a moment of non-existence, a moment of winter.
The freezing fog covered the Permian Basin, blanketing the roads in ice and giving us further days out west. The next day was cold and sunless, but still we ventured out, walking quietly through the stillness of morning.
Our favorite trail was too icy to ascend, so we walked along the road, ambling through campsites and enjoying the chill. A bird blind offered warmth and a view of desert birds and migratory visitors. The birds carried on through winter, refusing to be swallowed by the fog, and their insistence on the present moment was stirring.
When the fog had finally lifted, we were able to go up to Skyine Drive. The desert stretched, unobscured, and then rose up past the horizon. In the far distance, we could see the Observatory’s telescopes on the mountain, scanning the universe for meaning. The frozen fog had provided a moment of stillness before the start of a new year, but now the landscape was clear and full of possibility.
Dear Dream Reader,
By the time you read this, you’ve climbed one mountain, reached the top, descended, and are ready to climb another. You’ve finished the Iliad and are ready to read the Odyssey. You’ve danced in Paris, or Prague, or in your own apartment alone at midnight. You’ve run with the bulls or across the Brooklyn Bridge, prayed in the Vatican and the Golden Temple, finished learning Hindi and are ready to learn Farsi. You’ve ditched the maps and have found your own way, have written your own itinerary. Whether you travel across the globe or amble through the streets near your home, you find beauty at every corner and in the people whom you meet. You see what’s extraordinary in the ordinary. You love, you run, you write, you laugh. You climb mountains and you dance with words.
Yellow Fox and Tumbleweed
The word journey is richer than trip or vacation. A journey isn’t only about where you go, but what you learn and who you become in the end. The story of The Odyssey is the hero’s journey, not his arrival.
A journey, whatever kind of journey it may be, has the power to transform.
Whether it’s a journey to another country, training for a race, or a simple walk through the woods, I want to examine, through writing, the various journeys I am on.
What is Journey Proud? It’s the gleeful excitement a traveler feels the night before her journey begins or while traveling towards her destination. We are all on a journey of some sort, and I, for one, am journey proud.
And why Fox and Tumbleweed? My trail name is yellow fox, and I’ve always admired the tumbleweed.
Wherever life takes me, whichever journey I am on, I’ll need characteristics of both—the fox’s cunning and agility to conquer obstacles and the tumbleweed’s willingness to uproot and roll with the wind.