I often get asked about the Salton Sea. Whether it is still there. Yes, but a little smaller. I am looking at a mid to dark blue sea as I write this, sitting at my dining room table (the view is better than the wall in front of my desk), which means it’s pretty breezy out there. I love the fact that I can tell the windspeed by the color of the sea, and that sometimes one half of it will be dark and the other light. That when there is no wind, it is the same color as the sky.
This morning I walked down to the shore, such as it is, now perhaps a half mile of what will eventually be salt flats – some of it dry enough to walk on, much of it not, so I can no longer go to the water’s edge without ending up up to my thighs in fish guano.
I took a photo of the ‘reflecting pool’, which when I moved here almost fifteen years ago was full of water up to the far side of that little row of vegetation in the front.
When I returned I wrote this:
Palm Springs to Yuma – not a hint of breeze,
the silence is so loud you’ll hear your heart
beat in your chest. Your breath will stop and start
as you behold the mirror Salton Sea’s
become on such a day. A piece of sky
stretched on the desert floor – cerulean rug
of knots so fine. And ’til a stop will tug
the air, that blessed earthly canopy,
and then that sea to ever deepening blue
then gray, then black with whitecapse, watch this glass
this polished surface thirty five miles vast
reflects the sky it lives under, to you.
On windless days, the Salton Sea shines most,
more than the oceans found on either coast.
I have to say that this was one painting (or pair of paintings) executed under the most hostile of weathers. No, not so much heat, but the desiccating wind. I had to stop on the second morning and go back for a short session closer to dawn on the third day, and then it was a struggle. The good news is that once I’d drawn up the letters, I could quickly go from one side to the other, painting layers, knowing full well that that my start point would be completely dry by the time I returned to it in about 25 minutes. At the end of the second day I had to quit because the paint was drying on the brush. The east side of the boat was too hot to work, and the west side, in the shade and wind, I was shivering. And I still had to figure out how to spray with an acrylic glaze with the UV component – in a stiff breeze.
Nevertheless ‘Poseidon’ has its name on its sides and today will be test launched. Eventually this boat will carry a solar powered pump which will pump water from the Salton Sea into the marina ‘fingers’ in Desert Shores, to maintain the water level and mitigate red agae. Launch day is on Sunday.
I’m not usually an openly political person – this is something of a political posting, but more of an ecological item, not party politics. If you live anywhere in North or Central America, this could affect you.
Ocotillo Dawn is one of my early oil paintings – as ever the favorite subject – Dawn off my back porch. A few weeks ago one of my neighbors was visiting for lunch and took a shine to it! So, its forever home ends up being in Salton City, about a mile from where it was born.
I thought for some time that the hole that was dug under the fence at the south corner of my yard was a jack-rabbit construction. The cottontails can get through the chain fence, but not the jack-rabbits, so they would need a way of getting in if they wanted to get some water from the bottom half of the birdbath. But I did begin to suspect that hole was rather larger than jack-rabbits needed. I was right.
This morning I saw a coyote walking down the street outside my window. He glanced over at the birdbath and looked at the water level, then continued along the fence out of sight behind the plants. A moment later indeed he reappeared but did not initially go for a drink.
Maybe he’s curious about the movement of the blinds…
He turned and walked round the house to the west and I lost sight of him – there’s no window on that side of the house. The pigeons, feeding at the back suddenly scattered so I knew he was close. Went back hopefully to the bedroom window and was rewarded. Looks like android movies upload seamlessly to Windows10, so I hope this works for you! I wasn’t able to upload it into my post, but I was able to put it on my website: CoyoteInYard