Monthly Archives: August 2013
Usually by August, the grass is dead, baked dry by the heat of the summer. Once, a dozen or more years ago, the summer had been so hot and dry that the only green grass anywhere was a narrow band along the low side of the road, where the runoff from scant showers was just enough for ribbon of grass to turn green.
But in years when the rains are later than normal, the grasses linger on, and August is uncharacteristically green. This was one of those years, and this tiny cross was almost obscured by late-season grasses.
This wasn’t my first visit to this cemetery; it is one of my favorites, and has been featured here on the blog a few times. There’s the Cemetery Chair, and Why Travel the Stars, both from One Day | One Image. And, on a previous blog, you can see some star trails above an angel and a painted concrete cross.
On this visit, I found out that the rodeo arena is next to the cemetery. There was plenty going on at the arena, and the sound system was playing lots of country music. It was annoying at first – who wants to hear music at a cemetery? – but I got used to it, I guess; it just became part of the background sounds. Like birds. And trains.
I don’t really know what would have gone on at the ice house (other than the making of ice, I mean), so I am not entirely sure why there’d be a row of big eye bolts on the outside of the building.
But check out the noose-shadows on the corrugated metal wall. I’m not saying that was my favorite thing I’ve ever seen in Marfa, but it’s right up there with this. Oh, and here’s a wider view of the ice house, taken on a previous trip. Before I knew about the nooses.
Should your travels take you to Alpine, Texas, this is my advice: book yourself into room 208 at the Holland Hotel. It’s got a balcony that overlooks the main drag and (AND!) the train depot. But it also has good balcony-related scenery, like this railing, which caught the early morning light in a very nice fashion.
If you don’t like sound of frequent train whistles, though, you might want to stay someplace else. (Like Denver.) There are a LOT of trains that go through Alpine.
The bartender at the Century Grill, conveniently located in the hotel lobby, makes a very nice dirty martini. Enough of those and the train whistles won’t be a problem.
And, if you head a couple of blocks down the street, stop in at the Saddle Club. When I was there, relaxing* on the open patio in back, a photographer was shooting various menu items. At one point, he brought me over a plate with chicken skewers on it, saying, “Would you like some chicken? I haven’t even touched it!” How could I say no to a deal like that!?
*Shiner Bock. It was VERY relaxing.
This was my first visit to Valentine. This is what happened:
I was in Marfa. I thought about going to look at the cemetery. And headed out that way. Then saw a mileage sign that said Valentine was 35 miles away. I ditched the idea of a cemetery visit and headed over to Valentine.
Not too much going on in Valentine, other than the famous (?) Prada Marfa scuplture (or, installation, if you will), which to be honest I didn’t look for because I was a lot more interested in the way the storm looked over the HiWay Cafe. Also, the sculpture/installation has had its picture taken a lot, and I wanted to try to make things right with the Cafe.
And, I am a little bit of a contrarian: if “everyone” takes a picture of something, you can be pretty sure I’ll aim my camera elsewhere. (Sorry. None of you really needed me to point THAT, did you!?)