Soul Salvation

This is real life. Slab City, CA. Photo by Richie Trimble

  Slab City, CA.    Photo by Richie Trimble

It was all too short; it was all too fast; it was all too beautiful, but the best art never lasts. 

Our pilgrimage to the slabs, past the toxic sea riddled with fish bones and sodium compounds, it gets bigger and brighter and more holy each year as we deepen our bonds with the universe and one another and discover just how universal and boundless love can be. So we sweat and bleed and burn, dancing into delirium under ten million stars, with skin that feels like pieces of the sun, speaking words that taste like rapture.

Before there was ridazz spinning and singing and shouting across the sand, blowing up the physical in the name of the eternal, there was Leonard. Leonard Knight saw a blank canvas in the desert by the sea, and he filled it with a mountain of love. Salvation Mountain is proof of what divine creatures we are, turning junk and sand and paint into a monument so bright and stunning it turns the harsh landscape into a hallowed Oz. So we go out here to be free and to live together for a few infinite days and endless nights.

For 30 years Leonard built up the mountain, adding new layers of paint and cement, greeting visitors and living beside it. He built the mountain twice, and before that he spent 14 years making a hot air balloon that never could fly. Rest in Peace Leonard, in the big, glorious sky above the desert.

The sun is just the moon getting brighter, and our hearts are as full as our eyes are wide. Outside of the city, we are free to find ourselves and find each other and discover the depths of our souls. Here we find salvation from the complexities of the city, from the running wheel of the rat race that tugs at our footing day after day.

We go and we grow, and we come back and pine, for we realize home is not a place in the city, but a place in the mind. We can build mountains too.


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