The man who made Salvation Mountain died the other day. In a sense that means that a dream that we all share died. A dream of randomness; a dream of hope and spontaneity and freedom and purpose.
Did anyone even understand Salvation Mountain? Could you help yourself from loving it even if you didn’t?
It’s so perfect, out there on the edge of the epitome of weird, the desolation and disaster of the Salton Sea, the hot springs, the brutal sun, the unforgiving landscape, and the squatter colony they call Slab City.
Most of us give because we feel compelled. And we give a little. But to give relentlessly, and without making much sense at all? Now, that’s something beautiful. Maybe that’s art.
A few years back, we spent some time traveling around the Salton Sea and the Anza-Borrego Desert region. We stopped by Salvation Mountain and let our kid, our only child back then, run free. It was a place with quite a bit of magic. It was sort of legendary.
The man who made Salvation Mountain died the other day. His passing is iconic. His life has a certain relevance to us all, regardless of if we ever made it out to that lonely desert beyond Niland, California, or saw his appearance in Into the Wild. We all need folk art, we all need beauty, and we all need Salvation Mountain.