Last October, seismologists discovered a second fault line running parallel to the San Andreas, cutting right through the Salton Sea. Which means things may get a lot shakier than they already are. And so, at the risk of having California’s next great natural disaster placed on my shoulders, and at the plea of a couple of my local, wary readers, I’ll end this trilogy with a little less poking of fun at this powerful land. But just a tad. I’m not that superstitious.
I lit a fire that took ages to get going. The wind was howling something fierce, you could hear it whistle through the palms, tearing at the sky. I set up the cast iron pot, started on dinner which later turned to shit as it sometimes does when the pan only cooks on one side because the fire can’t decide which way it wants to burn. But the gulls were happy with it.
I reclined on an old camp chair as water turned to wine and my spirit became quenched. Watched the sun make a vibrant canvas of the sky. Burning reds so hot they singed the frayed edges of your hair. Pinks so soft you could lay down amongst them and sleep a slumber unlike any you have slept before. Oranges so vivid they illuminated the lining of your white skin that soaks up the warm glow like something strange and something foreign, not of this world. Yellows so golden they cascade around you in sepia toned tumbling waterfalls of color.
And as the sun continues it’s slow, sleepy descent through the sky, the moon begins her steady rising, basking the desert landscape in cool, crisp shades of frosty blue. The stars, engulfed in flames, sparkle with ferocity, a million galaxies, a million years away.
I walk down to the shore. My bare feet crunching upon the pulverized remnants of fish, grinding against the coarse grains of calcified bone, gently smoothed by the salty waters of the salty sea. My hair was down and whipped against my face as the winds continued their journeys over the land, brushing up against the waters, joining to make swirling little whitecaps that rose up in worship of the moon.
The earth trembled beneath me with the current of rolling plates and settling crusts. It was electric. Strange. And I’ve never felt so alive. Bare before the naked sea, we stood face to face, body to body, and soaked in the fullness of each other’s existence.
This place is fucking weird. It’s maddening. Little pieces of my soul break off and scatter along the lining of the shore and I pursue them, running like a madwoman, fine sprays of bone erupting from the earth with every placement of my pounding feet upon its surface. I’m illuminated. Static. White snow on a television set; sparks igniting something deeper and more meaningful than everything we think we know. Charged by the eclectic energy that hovers here the air is dry and crackles all around me it is bliss. A little odd. Completely strange. I don’t recognize myself; I’m beginning to lose sight of who she is. She is breaking off in shattered fragments here. Anonymous.
The Salton Sea is a place at the edge of the world. A pit where things fall, and settle into ancient slumber. Serial numbers scraped away. Identities lost. And everything you touch, you become; the left hemisphere of your brain shuts off as the soft, patterned presence of your fingerprints erode with the magic of timelessness and ambiguity. You are a million dead fish on a seashore. You are a car sunk to its neck in mud. You are a dilapidated house, slatted wood frames and crumbling drywall. You are the setting of the sun, and the rising of the moon.
And I think that this is living, and the rest of us just missed the memo, and got the whole thing wrong.