World Travel with a Twist of Zen - Fields of Indulgence  
 
Tuesday night we pulled into Fort Davis and met up with our friend Pat’s nephew Wesley & his partner Laurie. They generously hosted us while we explored the area. Fort Davis is the highest town in Texas, so despite the time of the year, the weather was windy and refreshing. Nighttime found us heading up into the Davis Mountains where the McDonald Observatory straddles the top of one of the hills with its gaze always turned upward. We joined hundreds of other travelers for a “Star Party” – a weekly event where the Observatory astronomers break out a bunch of their telescopes and focus them on different celestial objects for us to view.
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The most fascinating thing we saw were two galaxies 25 million light years away converging on each other in an interstellar game of chicken (see picture on left). When these two tractors collide (can’t resist a footloose reference), the billions of stars contained within each galaxy will lead to some real fireworks! Of course we won’t see the action for at least 25 millions years since it takes that long for the light to travel from there to Earth.

Neda & I were humbled by the sheer numbers involved in the observing. Our Milky Way galaxy alone contains billions of stars and beyond it are billions more galaxies, each containing billions of stars. Such vastness can make one feel small and insignificant until we remember that there are trillions of cells that make up each of our bodies. In this way, we are each like mini-galaxies colliding with each other everyday - little microcosms of the cosmos.


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From the glittering beauty of the stars, we traveled the next day to Marfa – a minimalist paradise. This oxymoron of a town finds rustic Texas cattleman walking the street with Prada fashion designers. We ate lunch with a couple such designers and enjoyed their reverence for the place (sparked by Donald Judd and the Chinati foundation that he founded there). Judd’s work sits in and around the Chinati Foundation – blocks of concrete laid out in West Texas grasslands. The blocks are minimalists masterpieces that defy our obsession on form and instead beg us to focus on the contextual interplay of light and space. They leave one feeling unsatisfied simply walking past the pieces – they are meant to be experienced over the course of a day. We meditated inside one and enjoyed the light shifting as we sat. Meditation is a form of minimalist exercise where we try to move past form and focus on context (i.e. awareness). I haven’t thought much of minimalist art before, but perhaps Neda & I have more connection to it than we realized :).  

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Minimalist shoes gazing at minimalist art...
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Thursday finds us leaving Texas on the 10 hour trip to Phoenix, where we will stay with one of Erin & Mike - friends of Neda's from Springfield. Tomorrow we head to Sedona for yoga, red rocks, and new adventures. See you there!

If these pics weren’t enough for you see the rest of our West Texas adventure here.

janep
7/25/2011 15:44:35

Glad the shoes got to meditate on the Chinati art.

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