Daylight of Dec. 30, 2007, at the hitchhikers’ blue porta porta:
“Salvation Mountain is Leonard Knight’s tribute to God and his gift to the world with its simple yet powerful message: ‘God Is Love.’ Leonard’s passion has lovingly created this brilliant ‘outsider art’ masterpiece resplendent with not only biblical and religious scripture such as the Lord’s Prayer, John 3:16, and the Sinner’s Prayer, but also including flowers, trees, waterfalls, suns, bluebirds, and many other fascinating and colorful objects. Salvation Mountain must be seen to be fully appreciated as those who have made the journey will attest. Its 50 foot height and 150 foot breadth is made totally of local adobe clay and donated paint and is truly unique in the United States and probably the world. From its Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the big red heart in the middle, to the cross at the very top, the reoccurring theme of ‘Love’ is everywhere at Salvation Mountain.”
I’m not much of a church-goer. But as I prowl around this man-made, handmade 50-foot-high, 150-foot-wide magnum opus sculpted with the energy of a paint store explosion, I think about Leonard Knight, the 76-year-old creator of Salvation Mountain. For 23 years he has been erecting a patchwork of paint, adobe, and scraps to promote his “undying love for God.”
Thinking about Leonard and his mountain make me think about art, creative callings, sculpture, specifically Rodin’s “Hand of God.”
Which leads me, as all things seem to these days, back to thumbs. I recall a quote:
In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence. –Sir Isaac Newton [Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).]
I’d like to sit on the Salvation Mountain couch to further mull these connections. But I don’t want to wake the old sleeping dog.
In the distance, back by the blue porta porta, the hitchhiker campfire seems to be smoke-signalling. I want to hear their stories.