The past few days hanging out in the “Friendly Acres RV Park” has proven to only be nice, although some of the residents like to be naughty. 🙂 Yesterday, I and my 200 new best friends shared Christmas dinner. Every person (mostly Snowbirds between 60-80) were asked to bring two dishes to share. The tables were heaped with yams, sweet potatoes, stuffing, salads, relishes, turkey, ham, wine, pies, cookies, cakes, and everything else you could possibly think of. I have always found it so fascinating to be apart of other’s family traditions. I’d never heard of stuffing made with oysters, but I guess it is regular practice in New England? I was lucky enough to have some pie made Okanagen berries as well.

I have discovered that when I speak about my pilgrimage people listen intently. Not because of me, but because the concepts of love, art, and peace resonate with everyone. It is similar to how the stars above seem to be central to world-wide experience. However, in meeting all these new people in one small place, even others commented that it was “fun” to watch how a crowd gathered around me when I spoke. Even Sandy’s mother said last night that she wanted to stay up late just to listen to me talk.

As honored as I am by those compliments, I know that it isn’t me that they want to hear about. In my experience fear causes a disquiet in our hearts. It is the cause of our selfish nature and often represses our love. It is the message of unconditional love that calls to all our hearts. My simple message and illustrations of the love and compassion I’ve been privy to and I’ve witness that causes so many to listen to my clumsy words. The truth of a loving existence is music to anyones ears.  Love is so central to our desire to live, who would not want to talk and hear about it?

I was able to do some works for people at the park as well. Seeing that there were a number of older gentleman in the park, it isn’t surprising that there were a few that played Santa on a regular basis. Charles was very sweet to pose for me in the picture above. A different Santa that I met while there told me of his Christmas morning. He had learned of two young girls that had lost their parents the week before Christmas. They didn’t know him, and so in response, he dressed up in his santa suit and called them via video chat on Skype. The girls only 6 and 8 were so taken back that Santa had called them on Christmas, that they forgot about their personal tragedy for a moment, if only fleeting. These are the kind of amazing people that was surrounded by all week.

Sandy’s mother was very kind to me in many ways as well. She washed my sleeping bag and clothes, and introduced me to Hominy. Hominy is basically lye washed corn that swells up like “Cornuts” and baked like au gratin potatoes. It was delicious.

She also asked me to draw her Great-Grandson. My first attempt went down in flames, but I was able to execute an acceptable drawing finally this morning employing some non-conventional methodology.

Before shuttling me back north to resume my trail East, we stopped by Salvation Mountain. SM is the continuing concoction of Leonard Knight. Leonard’s “house” of 26 years, is built on the back of an old 1939 White fire truck decorated as ornately as his mountain.

He has no electricity, gas, running water, phone, heating, air conditioning, or any of the other things that so many of us take for granted. He had constructed the edifice out of found materials such as hay bales, telephone poles, branches, old windows, and just about everything else. He has decorated the architecture with gallons and gallons of leftover paint, and it stands as a sentinel of color amidst a sea of brown.

I had first learned of Mr. Knight’s complex or structure via YouTube in a independent short film about the Salton sea entitled “Accidental Sea”.

 

Russ, true to form, was more than obliging to Sandy and my request to stop and see the said mountain of love.

I learned a lot from my new friends at the park this holiday. They were kind to me in more ways than I can document, but it is in the simplicity of our shared meals together and singing carols around the fire that I will remember them best. It seems at this time of year when we all give and receive presents. I’ve discovered that the greatest gift I received and was able to give was just being…present.

My friend Bill asked me, “What do you call an artist pushing a baby carriage across the planet?”

Peace on Earth

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