if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out

When I was in Springfield visiting Elsie and Red Velvet, Emma told me about this crazy place in southern California called Salvation Mountain. She had stopped there once on a trip from Cali to Missouri and said it was really incredible, so I figured I'd try and stop by if my route back west took me through the area. Fortunately, I was actually driving right through that area, so I went to have a look! She wasn't kidding, it really is a most incredible sight. Very bizarre too. It's set in this sort of crazy area that I feel like only exists in movies- but it's real life. Right beyond Salvation Mountain is a place called Slab City, which is basically just this abandoned wasteland-like deserty area where people in run down RVs of the same vintage as the Brave just park and camp for free. And they just live there. It's kinda crazy. I would've stayed there, but I would've rather had someone with me to do that. I suspect there are quite a few bizarre characters living out there. I have been trying to be more out-there lately, as far as extroversion goes, but it's still slow coming. There are some days when I feel okay interacting with strangers and the crazy folks I've encountered on this trip, but on the day I was there, I just was feeling very introverted, so I suspect I wouldn't have said hi to any locals anyway.

But as for Salvation Mountain itself, it was just awe inspiring. The whole place is just an explosion of color and joy. It's made by this old 79 year old man named Leonard who has spent decades creating it out of adobe and paint. He's started making this other cavelike area on the right hand side of the mountain and I almost think that area is even more incredible than the mountain itself. I wish I had taken video of it because photos just don't give you the full effect. Alas, I'm still not used to having a phone that has video capabilities and totally forgot that I could do that.

I think a lot of people would think that Leonard is a bat-shit crazy old dude, living in the middle of nowhere and building this crazy mountain, but I thought it was endearing and very inspiring to see someone just doing something they are passionate about- even if other people think it's crazy. Not everyone is called to live a "normal" American life, and I think those who aren't often get chastised for being weird, but I appreciate when people follow what they feel passionate about. I actually really love those odd folks living on the fringes of society. Most people forget about them and it's a shame because they often have such rich and interesting lives.

I haven't felt that inspired to do outfit posts lately. Nothing in my closet is really meshing with me- well, not nothing, but I'm having trouble figuring out my style. The past year and a half I've been quite feminine in my style and while I loved that, I think I'm sinking back into my more tomboy roots. The style pendulum swung far in the opposite direction from my younger days as a complete tomboy, and now it looks like it's settling somewhere in between the two. Unfortunately, my closet does not reflect this, since all my clothes are still the same ones I've worn the past year. I'm working on reworking what I've got to reflect more of who I feel like I am now, but it's been less than successful.

It's strange. I feel like a completely different person than the girl who rolled out of Anchorage two and a half months ago. I know this can't be true, but I feel like it. It is funny coming back up through California, thinking about the girl I was the last time I was driving through Cali. Today I drove right by The Nut Tree and reflected on being at the Nut Tree two months ago. So crazy! Maybe I haven't really changed that much, perhaps I just know myself better. Either way, I feel very positive. I'm thrilled to see what happens next. And I think I'm ready for it. I hate saying that because inevitably a curve ball gets thrown your way and that feeling of being ready for anything quickly is replaced by coping with new life circumstances. I was reading Melissa's blog, Dear Baby, today and she did a post talking about that quote, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." I think that really is the case. It's hard for me to let go because I'm a big fan of controlling the circumstances surrounding me. I'm trying to learn to let go, but it's hard and my natural tendency is to have everything under control. Have everything planned out. In some ways, this is a positive trait. But at the same time, being able to let go, be flexible, and adapt are all things that I'm working on. And trusting that things will work out, even if I don't have them all figured out.

*I found this blog post on Slab City/Salvation mountain that was pretty good if you want to know more about it*