This blog will be a little different. I wanted to share some logs from my journal I wrote while on our road trip. So here it goes...
So i’m sitting on the wooden deck of a big metal trailer on the mesa west of Taos, NM. About 4 miles from the massive Rio Grande gorge, which we happened to check out for sunrise this morning. It’s mid-afternoon now and all I hear are the faint sounds of people doing construction and the nearby highway 64. The views are astounding. To the east is the stretch of mountains that make Taos what it is. There’s still a little bit of snow on the shadowy tip of the highest peak, holding on for dear life as the summer heat inevitably creeps in above the tree line. Where we are at 7,500 feet it feels like we’re in the mountains, but it still has a slight desert vibe to it. There’s a deserty sage-filled plain all across the mesa on either side of the river, and it’s beautiful. It must get nasty here in the winter. I wonder what it must have been like to be a pioneer crossing these plains for the first time on the way to the west coast, trying to find a route, a pathway across the massive expanse that is the american west.
I’m excited to be here. It’s now our fourth day on the road trip that started in Albuquerque where we flew in, then to Santa Fe (and of course the random surrounding areas: Los Alamos, Bandelier state park, tent rocks, georgia o’keefe’s home, the white place, to name a few), and then Taos. We're heading to Roswell, NM, for a short peek at the alien madness ~ then onto Marfa, Texas for a few days.
This has been a creative trip for sure--but it’s also been a historical one, a trip of learning and growing in curiosity. We left Taos on Tuesday to drive all the way down to Marfa, Texas. I’ll get to what this town is like, that’s for sure, but on our way, we passed through another little town in New Mexico called Roswell. It’s made famous from the “Roswell incident” in July of 1947 where allegedly an alien craft crashed onto a rancher’s land 20 miles outside of town. The military was quick to say it was an Air Force weather balloon, but the whole thing seemed fishy for a lot of reasons. I won’t get into that now, but you need to check out the Roswell museum and read the affidavits residents made later in life long after all the happenings were over telling their honest recollections. I can’t say more, but you will form your own opinion when you go...
We also saw Los Alamos, NM. The military took over an all-boys boarding school in early 1943 to bring in a bunch of civilian scientists and develop the atom bomb. This history was also crazy for a number of reasons. First, unlike many people casually think, the bomb wasn’t actually detonated there, it was detonated in the white sands desert about 120 miles south of Los Alamos. Second, some of the scientists were wary of making such a colossal device of destruction and even met often in the project to consider stopping their work. I still have a lot to learn, but for good reason, it seems their worries came true the moment the Enoly Gay dropped the first bomb, dubbed “little boy” - a uranium device on Hiroshima, and then the second, “fat man”, a plutonium implosion device on Nagasaki. It’s a hard history to swallow. But it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like during the war and considering the options for ending it. What would have happened had we not dropped the bomb?
After a week deep into this trip, I realize how curious I get about the world around me. I open my eyes to it. Rather than thinking about my life and the stresses that overtake it, I’ve been learning about the towns I pass through and finding myself thinking about how they came to be, or how the areas around it were formed.
Ok, Marfa. I'm getting there. Marfa: the legendary art community in the middle of the west Texas desert. It really is a gem. Something I’ve never experienced before. Even before we got here, coming from the north you drive through this incredible corridor of desert peaks and mesas, even skirting Guadeloupe National Park, before diving down thousands of feet to the valley floor on the way through ranch lands. Situated almost two hours from anything, like a town or a highway or another person, is Marfa. It’s a little town like the town in Oklahoma I grew up in, in a lot of ways. Mostly agriculture and trades industries, old brick buildings and a big, beautiful courthouse in the center of town. Only one red blinking light divides the town up into quartiles. Mostly neighborhoods lie all around the town center.
Marfa is our last stop before making our way back to New Mexico, the airport, and our normal lives. As they say, all good things must come to an end. But we'll be back...