So today I’m kind of sad.
Those who know me know that for the last decade I’ve been drawn to the American Southwest, particularly the area around the Salton Sea in California. Close to the sea on the East side is Niland California. A few miles into the desert from Niland is “Salvation Mountain”. A massive creation of one man. One man who has more focused passion and purpose than I’ve ever witnessed. Leonard Knight has been building this colorful piece of folk art since the mid 80s, until last Winter, when he was checked into an extended care facility for declining health and dementia at the age of 80. Three days after Leonard was checked in, his second in command, a man that looked after Leonard’s interests and helped with Salvation Mountain, Kevin Eubanks died of presumed heart attack in his sleep. The future of Leonard’s creation is up in the air as even the government doesn’t really know who actually owns the land it’s on. The man, it’s creator, limited to building mountains in his mind now.
I met Leonard while exploring the area and wandering about his work of art, he is an amazing human being. Dedicated, passionate and FILLED with love. Salvation Mountain, a non-denominational dedication to God may not have stuck a religious chord with me but I got the message, the passion and the dedication behind it. That was more than enough. So did so many other people. It it visited by thousands every year and was featured in one of my favorite movies “Into The Wild”.
This is a photo below I took of Leonard in 2008. I hope that somehow his creation is adopted by a new caretaker with the passion and the drive of it’s master artist for it would be a shame to see it disappear.
May Leonard’s remaining days be peaceful and filled with love.
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