ah, birthdays. ours are only about a week apart. the celebrations were indeed closely linked, in time and spirit. the desert was the destination, in both february and march.
first, though, we made a stops to see melissa's grandpa, and then my granny chase
to have her sage wisdom and stories that span the better part of the past millenium wash over us. she is a huge reason its awesome to be back in california.
next we visited one katie johnstone at her new san diegan household. somehow, she turned into a winking owl lamp everytime i tried to snap her picture. below you will find our gracious host for the night prior to the first leg of desert life.
and on to a first time visit at the salton sea. a valley that filled with water in the early 1900s that saw early interest of tourists, vacationers and real estate moguls. the demise of the salton sea as a tourist town happened as the salinity and pollution of the lake increased. now, the shores of the sea are lined with bones (fish and bird) and salt encrusts just about any and everything. all this, of course, led us right to its shores, its failures and its nature slowly reclaiming humanity's footprint (literally, houses crumbling into the earth) made us excited to explore this process. the towns that survive in the area (niland and bombay beach seem to be the biggest) foster populations out of a lynch movie, or an episode of cops. and yes, there is a film starring val kilmer called salton sea. we havent seen it, dont really plan to. there is a documentary its history, narrated by (surprise!) john waters.
(our sea-side resort.)
(when the morning light comes streamin in...)
the next morning, after night terrors and visions of desert people doing unthinkables to us (the wind shaking the tent every five minutes or so as a sure sign of these desert mutants breaking into our humble tent) and a belly full of DELICIOUSNESS, we ventured to niland, the home of leonard knight and his salvation mountain. what to do when you spend two years in nebraska hand stitching a huge hot air baloon that says " GOD IS LOVE" on the side of it and then not getting it to fly? move to the southern california desert, homestead a hill and the surrounding land and start scavenging out in the desert and then build and paint the love of God you couldnt get to fly above the great plains with the things scavenged. pictures do this place no justice. the message and life of mr. knight are incredibly beautiful, inspiring and important. he reminds me of an old testament prophet of sorts, living deep in the desert, proclaiming truth.
(free your mind, and your ass will follow...)
(after leonard taught us, we made our way back west, just in time to sacred harp sing with ms. jameson and co...i tried to sneak some photos, but you will soon learn what happened to them. jenn snuck this one of th' blessed event)
(and then to pokes for dinner and SURPRISE FRIENDS!)
(the POWER OF HENRY reduced m'stature)
the days between my birthday and melissa's held many a beach excursion. the first, as referred to above, proved to remind me and those exploring with me, our true place in regards to nature. this true self is incredibly small and squashed in an instant.
(jared standing in the tide pool where he, our friend peter and i all crumbled under some back to back rogue waves, mightily disregarding the six foot "protective" wall at the end of the pools. we were sent, a flailing mass of arms and legs and torsoes, scraping across coral and sinking me into a nearby underwater cave. once we surfaced and retreated wild eyed and soggy dogg, we realized the supreme power of the ocean, disregarding technological advances (namely my cell phone and camera, which is what i referred to earlier. apparently, only select photos got erased from my memory card in the submersion. those included some of the sacred harp, some of melissa and i standing with leonard knight, giving the thumbs up to a sunny day and God's love...)and generally, anything in its way.
a few days later we explored sunset beach. the freakish storming and winter-like weather southern california experienced around our birthdays served to (among other things) wash an incredible amount of refuse shore-ward. sunset beach was not an exception. it was like being at a dump. we decided to make lemonade with our dumpy lemons. we erected a teepee amidst the dead birds (even a pelican! hadnt seen one of those that up close ever. it was so big and majestic, even in death. which reminds me, louisiana's state flag has a pelican. apparently, these beautiful creatures will feed themselves to their young if the situation necessitates they do so) and empty cans of monster energy drink.
melissa's birthday (well, pre-birthday) party was held at the velaslavasay (yes, it has taken practice to say it, much less spell it) panorama, with matcha cupcakes to boot (i limited myself to about six).
(maaatcha! nikki! natcha!)
(feets outside the panorama...)
(...eventually took us to a fine ethiopian dining establishment).
while it may be no diamond, the food was still able to produce excitement to the point of blurry bliss. no one wanted to gursha, though....
(melissa, birthday cacti (courtesy of one nikki hinojos) and sir elkins)
and then melissa's real birthday. the desert. this time to joshua tree to inspect noah purifoy's work. this greeted us on our way to the environment.
and on into the environment.
(emerging from the stick igloo. stickiloo).
(...right into the toilet)
(ode to frank gehry)
(stopped in cabazon on the way back and paid homage)
sorry for the mega post. had some blogstipation for awhile, working on getting more regular...