The faucets leak in Salt Lake City. In the three hours of sleep between bathroom visits the bath tub in Chaz's apartment has filled up nearly too much. In the bathroom at the used book store, as big and bright as a Barnes and Nobel, I consider writing "You're losing water" at the bottom of the sink before plugging it up, but decide not to, mainly since my marker is outside with my unattended bike. I am looking for the vegetarian's bible, Oahspe, and there is a copy though no one can find it. Must have gone missing. The man who told me about it says its a hard book to come by.
We have made friends with some Salt Lakians who show us around town and though they have never been to the Jetti, are excited to go. So we load up in Chaz's truck with all the necessities for a journey- as Buzz described to me on a car ride to New York once, it promises to be long and wrangley. Emilie and I squeeze in with pears we knocked down in a parking lot this morning, bread we stole off the table at Chaz's job, pastries (we bought), a guitar, saw, and disposable camera. The ride takes us from the south end of the lake to the far north end, 70 miles away. We sing along to Nirvana, Niel Young, Bonnie Raite, the Pretenders, Nina Simone, and various other memorables.
Turning down the dirt road I feel excited and giggly. If there is one thing that Emilie and I have learned on this trip- its how to laugh together. We were in this great little coffee/outfitter shop sharing a pizza with Chaz and Mitch, and we were laughing and joking our pants off, so much so that we stirred the owner who came down all happy and excited to see who was to jolly. We are now stoked with anticipation and appreciation for the experience that a little piece of paper with directions scrawled cryptically by Chris, the owner of the local record shop, has in store for us. We keep our eyes open- though we're tired from not enough sleep- for the "trash" which is a major mile marker, and then the "rusty trailer". We don't actually ever see such a trailer, only some rusty metal that resembles the roof of a car, some oil barrels, and rocks that look like the souls of seals. We name this place The Seal Graveyard. The rocks and divits in the road are getting too big so we park and begin our walk, expecting to see the landmarks- a fork in the road and a jetty, "not the spiral jetty"- around every bend. There is more road than we expected and consider that we may have gone the wrong way, but venture farther.
The sun is calling us West and the road bends toward it so we go, nearly blinded by golden. I am amazed and a little surprised to see the shore line- a good mile from the water. There is a field of crusty white crystal that beckon us to them. They are thick and icy in texture, but not cold. In fact, we are struck by how warm the water is on our cold, ashy skin. We see the first jetty and quicken our step. Chaz is playing the guitar, narrating our pilgrimage and filling the dense and beautiful silence with the sounds of dream sequences, sweet and nostalgic. The sun is setting and there it is. Long and curly like my hair after it rains.
Black airy rocks, hard with heat and time. Washes of white growing with distance mimic the surface. We enter. It feels important. It feels good. Here miles from nowhere, we are in a very peaceful place.
Instinctively we all split and wander about basking in the atmosphere- the history. The joy of fulfilling a quest, of meeting a legend. I can't get over the wonder of this Great Salt Lake, it's bed which has been growing as the water is shrinking in this sate of Utah, known for industry..."Busy as Bees" there motto, the largest open pit mine which can be seen from space is here, beside ski resorts with "the finest skiing in the US" beside the Mother Church where the Ladder Day Saints make home, where fresh water runs down the drain at an alarming rate, where the sky is blue and full of snowy peaks, where a great little enclave of hipsters make music and try to eat organic, where Robert Smithson made a reason for us to venture out and feel this strange, salty scape.
I walk the jetty, spiraling inward and think of its effect- I see the panorama three times before I come to sit at the end. Before me is the shore and an eastern view of the seal graveyard, the mountains behind it, the old jetti and several abandoned structures where there was once water. I want to cry- to donate my tears to the biggest collection of tears I've ever experienced- but I can't. I feel such joy, listening as Emilie takes her saw and Chaz his guitar. They are on the shore and I am in the center of the jetty- at the end of the jetty. I am surrounded, protected. Usually the end of a jetty is exposed and you feel vulnerable, but here I am safe. There is no wind, there is no sound, you can see no cars, no cities, nothing that is active with man, except us.
I would love to continue, but the library is about to close. More when we can. The pictures are coming too. Much Love, Kate
Thank you Mitch for the photos in this post..and the ride to Salt Lake City. That's right fellows, we are in the city of the Great Salt Lake, which seems to be quickly turning into a great salt field. We have had a fantastic run of community meetings and chance path crossings. We saw the people who planted water for us on the Burr Trail at a little restaurant/the happening spot in the towm of Escalante, UT. We also met the boys we had seen in Boulder and convinced them, or did they convince us? to take us to Salt Lake City where we have recorded our songs at Archival Recordings Studio, made some really great food, seen the great music scene and met nice people...
If you would like to join our postcard list email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading: Postcard. Make sure to include your address.
This project has been made possible by generous contributions from, The Cornell Council for the Arts, Linda and Jeff Shearman, Mary Fessenden, Tara Cooper, BJ Ewing, Lucile Stark, Elaine from the Pharmacy/cafe, Terry Smith, the man at the Gas Station in New Albany, Dave and Jim, Bill and Beth, the girls at Huck's, Diana and Michael, Buzz Spector, Niel, Tim Hayes, Eric Kincade, Blake, Maggie Stark, Connie and Paul, Randy and David, Chris Mathias, Steve (the owner of) Escalante, Stacy Weber, and many others like you...
On September 11th, 2007 the Barn Stormin’ Brother’s began a journey on bicycles that would carry them from Roanoke, Virginia to San Francisco, California performing their work-in-progress, The Two-Headed Nightingale in Laundromats along the way. The Brothers will travel from east to west retracing the steps of the colonial conquest, in an attempt to understand the deep-rooted dream in which land is seized, secured, and exploited in the name of the free. The piece uses song, dance and theatrical vignettes to test the limits of the self. Where does one human being end and another begin? Why do we live in a country that values private property? The performance is constructed as a string of brotherhood equations that evaluate this country’s obsession with ownership and material wealth. We will perform in Laundromats because it is a unique type of public space. We will offer an alternative entertainment, an oasis, which fights prejudice and oppression with a slew of back-bending dance moves, saw-tooth rambling and dizzying percussion. De-robe and De-pants, as we build a wild west out of soap and socks at your local Laundromat.