Saturday, March 12, 2016
This being our fourth year out here in the middle of nowhere, we have not been as curious about our surroundings as we were in the beginning. We have seen many of the close by local attractions and haven’t needed to have a do-over with the exception of the Calipatria donuts, which we need to partake of as often as we can. Aside from grocery shopping, there aren’t too many places we venture out to see.
That aside, we (actually just me) were encouraged to check out East Jesus, an artist community located in the Slab City area of Niland, California. Slab City is a collection of folks truly living in exile, off the grid and out of the way of most everything else. It is an abandoned military base, with all that remains being the “slabs” of concrete that made up the floors and foundations. Folks squat there for free. They have their own community “government” and set of rules. It seems to work for them. East Jesus is a part of this collection.
Once in the Slabs, you can locate East Jesus by turning right at the “Fork in the Road.”
This little alcove is home to artists and guest artists, who create using things that have been donated or cast off. Salvage art is always interesting in its quirkiness and thoughtfulness. Its makers are the folks that stretch us all and make us think. And, dear friends and family, in case you didn’t already know, this opening up of the mind is a good thing.
No trip to this area is complete without a stop at Salvation Mountain.
The life’s work of Leonard Knight, who left this earth a couple of years ago, has been lovingly preserved and maintained by volunteers who wish to keep his message alive. I have met people who knew him, and he is always described as a kind man who was driven by the passion of his life’s philosophy.
He believed the most important act in our lives is that of love. His mountain is a tribute to this. For me, when I enter what is most certainly a shrine, I do feel his presence. I’m pretty sure his sweet spirit resides at Salvation Mountain and that he takes the journey through his mountain with you while whispering his message in your ear. It is a place of peace. I wrote about this in a previous post, so I won’t repeat the sermon. (“Can I Get An Amen?” Sunday, February 10, 2013)