It's no accident that the so-called great Western religions grew out of the desert. Because the desert affects the brain. If you're out there too long, you begin to see things. And believe things. Things that come out of the nothingness of the desert and become real. Or at least real enough to make someone want to make something like Salvation Mountain.
It is in the middle of nowhere. There wouldn't be a road to this if it weren't here. In fact, given East Jesus, Slab City, and Salvation Mountain, it's almost as if you've been spiritually transported to the Judean desert that we visited last year. Lots of mad men wandering the desert, preparing the way.
The mountain was the creation of a man named Leonard Knight, who, the legend says, had a vision. There is no doubt that the painted mountain itself, along with various decorated vehicles and other detritus which surround it, is a folk art masterpiece.
What is it about the Salton Sea desert that engenders such mad art? You might ask the same question about almost any desert.
Knight, btw, was hospitalized for dementia near the end of his life. I would draw no conclusions from that, other than he lived to be 82. He left something remarkable to remember him by. More than most of us will do.
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