Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Part 2: Fort Davis and Indian Lodge

If you missed it, part one documents our road trip out to west Texas and stay at Hotel Paisano. Phase two of our trip entailed hiking around the Fort Davis mountains. 

During our second hike (5 hours up, across, and down a big ol' mountain) we encountered about 10 aoudads on the side of a steep mountainside where the trail narrowed to just fit your feet and there was no room for error, nothing to break your fall if you tumbled left, just sharp rocks and cacti piercing you as you slide and roll. What's an aoudad? A Barbary sheep, they say. It looks like a cross between a deer and a ram; it has those magnificent curly horns. We don't have any pictures because we were stunned and if you move they take off, which they did when "one" of us moved. It's amazing how quickly they can run down such a steep grade with rocks and such. 

We forgot to visit the actual fort because we were enjoying the state park, Indian Lodge grounds, and surrounding area roads and land. The drive to Fort Davis is amazing and hopefully I'll have some good analog shots once I get the film developed. I can't tell you what quiet country roads, the sound of wind through fields, and watching enormous cows not giving a shit does for me. 

This old woman [La Loba, Wild Woman, The One Who Knows] stands between the worlds of rationality and mythos. She is the knuckle and bone on which these two worlds turn. This land between the worlds is that inexplicable place we all recognize once we experience it, but its nuances slip away and shape-change if one tries to pin them down, except when we use poetry, music, dance . . . or story.

- Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, Ph.D., Women Who Run With The Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

The night we stayed at Indian Lodge we sat outside bundled up (it's definitely chilly in the winter time - we were there the first week in November) to look at the stars. It took my eyes a minute or so to adjust and suddenly all the jillions of stars came into focus. The sky was so clear. A while later, again, suddenly things came into focus - it was like I could see the entire solar system, every star and galaxy. The sky looked like one of those detailed science photos or a drawing that maps everything out. Tri-iipy! I've never seen more stars in my life. 

Now, for the conclusion of our star gazing, I don't know if anyone believes us when we tell the story but ... at one point we both were sitting quietly when a mass of light hovered on the side of the mountain we faced. It was like a fog but as I mentioned earlier, it was a clear night. There aren't city lights reflecting anywhere; you're in the mountains with no cell service at Indian Lodge itself. We looked around - no car headlights, no lights on in the rooms facing that mountainside and even if light was leaking out of any windows it wouldn't reach out in a floating mass that far. It didn't last long and just as it appeared, it simply vanished.   

Third post in the west Texas series up next: Marfa and El Cosmico.