Marfa Lights

I just returned from a trip to Fort Davis, Texas, touted by the local chamber of commerce as “The Highest Town in Texas.” The title was derived from the town’s elevation of 5,050 feet rather than some mind-altering substance. I spent three restful nights at the Wayside Inn, which adjoined the old fort that gives Fort Davis its name.

My travel companions from the Single Friends Sunday School Class at Alamo Heights Methodist Church stayed at the famous Hotel Limpia as the group of forty was a little large to accommodate in one venue. Our arrival brought much-needed rain for the Mountain Region of West Texas. We spent a relaxing evening on the front porch of the Limpia rocking in the high back chairs reminiscing about the many trips SFSC had taken together over the years and discussing what to see and do once the weather cleared.

Saturday we took a hike at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center where during a mountain rainstorm my hiking companions—three lovely ladies from San Antonio—and I took refuge in a small privy. That makes for another story to tell someday. Saturday night clearing clouds allowed us to enjoy the Star Party at the McDonald Observatory.

Sunday we toured the fort and saw a small arms demonstration complete with US Cavalry soldiers dressed in 1850 period uniforms. After a day of sight seeing and shopping in Alpine and Marfa, we headed out to see the infamous Marfa Lights 10 miles east of Marfa. I have seen the Marfa Lights often over the years, but it was the first time for my three passengers—the ladies from the privy I mentioned earlier.

I pointed out the tiny pinpoint lights to my friends, mentioning how early in the evening the lights were popping over the mountain range in the distance. Someone in the group of spectators said to me they were car lights on a road. Others thought they were lights from a rancher’s home or even street lights. Knowing the terrain of the mountain from which the Marfa Lights danced, I pointed out how they moved from place to place, went away, and came back.

A little girl about ten years old said, “Show me,” and I pointed them out. Her father still didn’t believe what he saw was the Marfa Lights. I told him there were no roads where the lights were and no homes on the side of the mountain. Many of the spectators hearing our discussion realized they were looking at the Marfa Lights all along.

Like many of life’s miracles, many fail to accept them for what they are—just a faint light in the distance that no one can fully explain. I went home content knowing that I saw the Miracle of the Marfa Lights and no longer needed to solve the mystery of the lights.

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