Leonard Knight. His name may not be one you've heard before, but once you've heard his words, you will never forget him. "I don't go to church, I just love and want to join the world in love."
This man's lifelong work building Salvation Mountain, deemed by The Folk Art Society as one of the six folk-art sites in the world worthy of "preservation and protection" was entered into the Congressional Record, in 2002. His work, made popular in the movie "Into the Wild" directed by Sean Penn, made him somewhat of a local hero in this "godforsaken" and desolate desert area due to his 30 years of craftsmanship and (over 100,000 gallons of paint).
It's been over a year ago since my time living in Slab City, and experiencing Salvation Mountain on my way into town or to bathe at the local hot spring. A friend who currently lives on a school bus converted home in the area, spoke to me just this morning about the "grandest celebration of music and dancing" he'd ever seen. He shared that in the middle of the celebration a group of locals took Leonard Knight's ashes, who died a month prior, and spread them on the very mountain he dedicated his life to.
For one man to dedicate over 30 years of his life, day in and day out to something bigger than himself, with the sole desire to spread love, is one of the most incredible things I have ever heard. May his story provide you a torch to light the paths of others to love as he loved. Maybe it's building a mountain or maybe it's simply loving a friend, family member, or partner a little more each day, but wherever you are pulled, take Leonard's example and do it with all your heart.