You’ve heard of peyote, right? The psychedelic cactus plant that Native Americans and Mexicans have used for eons in their transcendence rituals? Taking it has been known to trigger new insights about familiar life stuff. It shakes you out of your routine, opening up higher planes of thought and adding dimensions to your relationships with other people and the environment around you.
Well, it so happens that the town of Marfa, TX is located right in the heart of peyote country. That could be just coincidence, but spend a weekend in this town and it will make perfect sense––whether or not you imbibe the cactus tea. There must be something in the soil out here, because Marfa is a mind trip all by itself, and somewhere you definitely need to make time for when you’re traveling the high desert of West Texas.
The effect starts before you ever get to Marfa… when you’ve already been driving for hours and you’ve seen nothing but desert, sky, and road. You start to realize you’re waaay out in the middle of nowhere (Marfa is a solid three hours from the nearest commercial airport or shopping mall, btw).
And then you roll up and see fifteen huge concrete boxes on the side of the road. They’re obviously man-made, but they somehow look organic to the desert environment and make for a surreal sight that’s also weirdly relaxing. They’re your first clue that you’re in a place where people relate artistically to their surroundings. The boxes are the first of many sculptures you’ll encounter here, along with paintings, drawings, carpentry, film, music… in short, every type of art under the sun. Marfa is in some ways one giant art exhibit, built in homage to the desert itself. The longer you spend here, the more that awareness dawns on you, and the more you change your perspective on your place in the natural world. I told you it was trippy!
When it comes to bedding down for the night, there’s a good range of places to stay, but if you can, get a reservation at El Cosmico. This place is essentially a campground that rents trailers, tents, and teepees, but it’s super comfy, definitely on the “glamping” end of the spectrum. It also has the added advantage of keeping you close to the land (although you’ll always feel its presence, even if you opt for a hotel in town). On Friday and Saturday nights, you can rent out wood-fired hot tubs -- perfect for a commune with desert spirits under an awe-inspiring canopy of stars.
When it gets really dark, it’s time to open your mind to some legit paranormal activity: the Marfa Lights.
Fair warning: this is some seriously freaky crap. Drive ten miles east of town and park: they appear out of the darkness as glowing orbs hovering above the earth, occasionally merging, flickering, or zooming across the plains.
Skeptics say they’re just car lights on the highway, but car lights don’t linger and dart like these do. Also, locals who have watched the lights for years say they’re not only harmless but friendly. The bottom line is, you have to check them out for yourself. It’s just another way Marfa has of changing your perspective, giving you a blast of the surreal, and opening up your awareness to worlds beyond your own. GO!!
Marfa boxes: By Kbennett0016 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons