What is so special about a mount of dirt and clay in the middle of the desert with paint on it? Some folks don't get it. They don’t understand passion and drive. They don’t understand the quiet activity of the desert that provides peace of mind and peace of soul. Salvation mountain was created out of one mans desire to get a message to the people.
God is Love. I heard him say “Keep it simple”. Leonard Knight is that man who tried to launch a hot air balloon into the sky to get message of love to the people. Why did he do it in the middle of the desert where there are few inhabitants, I wondered. I speculate that Leonard felt the presence of God in that wind ravaged dust bowl of Niland California. I too could sense the quiet whisper of God in the winds as it blew across the sand. There is very little distraction out there and it allows a man to commune with God rather easily. I can see the attraction.
After Leonard’s hot air balloon attempt failed, he set out to make a mark for God using concrete. Close to 40 years later, Leonard has crafted a mecca of sorts. I would say it's more of an enormous art project that was created using materials found in the desert and second hand paint. Yet, it draws the people here to this place in the middle of oblivion. Heck, it may as well be. There is no running water, no electricity, no plumbing, yet several hundred people live near here in Slab City...perhaps they feel the peace of the Lord also.
Salvation Mountain is inadvertently a work of art. It is named on the National Historic Register as Folk Art. That designation is what helped protect it from the bureaucratic, red tape lovin', slimy government employees that tried to tear it down in the 90's calling it an “environmental nightmare”! Really? Out there in the middle of East Jesus? Justice prevailed when the good guy Leonard Knight was able to continue his passionate mud slapping and recycled paint sloppin' because the results of soil tests came back in his favor.
You won't find Mr. Knight out there these days, no, unfortunately he will be in a wheel chair for the remainder of his life (or until DARPA can get those robotic legs perfected). Heard tell from a solid source out at the Mountain that Leonard lost his leg due to an infection. Shame. But, regardless, Leonard has created a legacy, one that might not last long since the materials are mostly made from earth and over time they shall return to the earth, peacefully. Don't take my word for it though, take the trip yourself to the middle of the desert and find your own peace....maybe you'll find the love of the Lord while you are there...it's what Leonard is hopin' you find.
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