Marfa, Texas — I came here to write some music this week and got baked dry. The great fire that burned much of West Texas last month started in a house just down the road. Much of the nearby land got saved, if only for a slow burn from the incessant sun, rather than the quick blaze.
I get up early when it’s cool and head out to a spot where the railroad runs between two ranches. I’ve walked along these tracks on each visit to Marfa.
As soon as I start singing, I hear the rumble of the coming train. The bass notes and deep earth vibration it brings always give me comfort, enveloping and solid, a father’s big-handed embrace.
I gather the dog and stand there watching the component characters of this charging gaggle, each with its own personality. As the last cars pass with a final rush of engine, there’s a trailing hum, and I sing along, noticing that there’s always music in the air, dry or not, even when the muses are too hot for more ambitious composition.