Phil and I just got back from a road trip from Los Angeles through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. My focus is typically on the lifestyle of a location, creating a place as a biography in a literal way, but I decided this time to try to capture the trip in a less rigid way, noting points of interest through a smaller pinhole. We managed to stop by several noteworthy spots such as Balmorhea, which is the largest spring fed swimming pool in the world, small Texas towns like Alpine, Marfa (can't stay away), and Van Horn, as well as White Sands New Mexico. All I can think about these days is escaping the city and going somewhere a little dustier, with sun and shade and seasons. I'm definitely going through a bit of a phase, and can't tell when or if it'll ever end. More road trippin' already penciled in before the end of the year. Can't wait to explore more of the USA.
In Marfa Texas, I attended a two-day workshop for those wishing to learn more about the healing properties of herbs. We experienced them in several ways- as tinctures, oils, smoke, and even baths. It was partially held in this incredibly beautiful yurt, built a day before the workshop and now offered as a private room at El Cosmico.
Sophia Rose was born to work with plants. Her name even suggests it. Hailing from Austin Texas, Sophia operates her own apothecary, teaches regular workshops, and offers healing guidance.
"La Abeja was borne out of the passionate devotional love I felt and continue to feel for Honeybees. In 2011 I was completing training and clinical residency at the North American Institute Of Medical Herbalism. At that time I was in the clinic seeing clients a couple days a week and in the midst of writing my thesis, the Magikal + Medicinal Uses of Solomon's Plume. My greatest joy that year was gathering and crafting all of the wild medicines for the clinic's apothecary. I felt as though I had truly found my calling. Up until that point in my life, I'd felt that my Soul's Path had been fairly clear--I'd always known my next step, even if only vaguely. But as my graduation from NAIMH drew near, I felt totaly uncertain as to how I wanted to proceed, as an herbalist or otherwise. One evening, I was alone in my bedroom--high up in the Rocky Mountains--four months into the punishingly windy subzero Winter. I was watching Queen Of the Sun, a movie about colony collapse disorder and the implications of life without bees. I was suddenly overcome with a mix of grief and joy and fervor. Tears streamed from my eyes and I clutched at my breast, gasping. And while I was moved by the film, it wasn't the reason for my tears. They were, rather, the result of my realization that I was meant to devote myself, totally, to the stewardship of Honeybees." - Sophia Rose
On the second day we experienced the art of bathing. Crystals, herbs, and oils were added to tubs, which we soaked in while the sun set.
This was definitely a highlight of my time spent in Marfa, and one I had the pleasure of taking home with me. I keep a vial of Sophia's El Corazon in my purse and take a few drops regularly. The effects are immediate and tangible. She truly has a knowledge of plants, and applies it in a beautiful manner. I would encourage anyone with a curiosity or specific need to reach out to her. To see more of what she does, check out her website. Some of my favorite products of hers are the El Sueno flower essences, and the Mimosa tincture.
Thank you again so very much, Sophia. I hope to cross paths again someday.
I'd never been to Marfa Texas, but had heard plenty about it. I was lead there by an herbal workshop which will be saved for a separate post. The deal was sealed for me after spontaneously finding and reading the Marfa issue of Collective Quarterly. I'd been aching for a trip, and somehow, my friend Jenn also had a week of flexibility to dedicate to time on the road.
We spent a leisurely two days getting there, stopping to take in the view or to see a national park or two, cutting through Arizona and New Mexico until reaching our destination in Texas. I love to travel, and though I usually equate this word to a variety of locales outside of the US, this trip reminded me of just how beautiful this country is. It's all to easy to forget until the sky opens up, the city falls away, and America is able to let her hair down. I love the city life, but the escapes are an important balance to experience.
Something I adore about living in Los Angeles is the readiness of both the landscape and the people living in it to be part of something artistic. This is a really long winded-way of saying that a pretty photograph is a fairly easy thing to accomplish. People are so used to the click of a shutter, it's become second nature to gently pose if an iphone is pointed our way.
The journey to Marfa guided me through several lessons; the main one being that in order to gain a proper photo of a person or place, you must first get to know them. The energy of Marfa is not one which embraces that shutter click, despite (or likely, because of) its incessant presence. I loved the challenge of really being there, meeting people and then seeing them later at the same bar as me. Then the next day, and the next night at a different bar. The community knows itself, and while it's anything but ungiving, it's also not seeking the constant validation and attention so often found within a city.
I was truly shocked at how much there was to do there. Parties, concerts, book readings, tasting events, workshops, gallery exhibitions...filling a calendar would not be a challenge.
In a way, everyone in Marfa is something of a tourist. Most are people who moved away to escape the grind in exchange for a calmly paced artists life, working multiple jobs, owning their own businesses, and quietly preserving the magic of Marfa.