We're in West Texas. Finally. At seven-thirty in the morning, the sun is just up, the sky is pale blue edged with pink, and it's a chill high-desert 27 degrees out there. Yesterday by noon it was 60. A couple inches of snow are possible for the weekend: Marfa is only fifty miles from the Mexican border, but it's also 4500' above sea level and in the West it's usually altitude, not latitude, that matters when it comes to cold.
A few weeks ago we abandoned our original plan to drive the 2700 miles from downeast Maine to far-West Texas in the fifteen-year-old Volvo, with the five-year-old aboard. We flew instead. It still felt like a long haul.
We left Brooklin, Maine on Monday afternoon, and drove three hours to Freeport for a Christmastime dinner with BB's family. Spent the night in Freeport, and woke up at 3:45am. Basha's generous papa drove us to the Portland Jetport (not airport, mind you: jetport) for a six a.m. flight to Chicago. The three of us were groggy. BB and HBB managed to sleep but PB could not: he is @ four inches too tall to comfortably crank his legs into the space allotted to an economy seat, let alone snooze in one, so spent the flight reading a book he'll be reviewing for the Washington Post: James Barret's The Irish Way: Becoming American in the Multiethnic City, the newest vol. in Penguin's History of American Life series.
From Chicago we caught a flight to El Paso and arrived in Texas around noon Mountain Time. We had arranged for the community Trax bus to pick us at the airport and take us to Marfa, three hours to the southwest. The Trax is used by people in the Big Bend area--Van Horn, Marfa, Alpine, Presidio--to get to El Paso, for shopping trips and (mostly) doctor appointments. We spent two hours waiting outside a medical clinic for one lady so the last leg of the trip wasn't exactly speedy. But West Texas sunshine was having its usual positive effect, so even hanging about outside a medical clinic in the drear exurbs of sprawling EP was okay; at least for the first hour-and-a-half. Fellow passengers on the bus were three ladies from Van Horn, Texas ,and the French artist Wilfred Almendra, who is in Marfa with Field Work Marfa, which is a joint project of three European schools: ESBA Nantes Métropole, HEAD-Genève, and Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.
|l'equipe Fieldwork Marfa|
|Marfa, The Horses AcrossThe Street|
|Les gars avec leur poulets|
| Icy Morning, West Texas|
But right now it feels great to settle in here. The three of us went out to lunch yesterday at the Food Shark, which we dream of when in Maine, and saw a bunch of our Marfa amigos. BB is setting up her winter studio at Wrong, Buck and Camp's gallery, downtown: she'll be fabricating and selling her gold and silver jewelry at Wrong this year.
P.S. PB's interview with Shelagh Rogers on her CBC Radio show The Next Chapter originally broadcast on CBC1 December 19 will air again at 4pm December 24th, on CBC1. Here's the podcast. PB did this interview at the early, Vancouver stages of a massive transcontinental head cold, which is why he sounds like he is talking from deep inside a snowdrift.