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Monday, August 17, 2009

Vollmann Diaries 6: To El Centro and Return

The sun setting over San Diego Bay, August 16th 2009.

Vollmann Diaries 1: Border Crossing//Desert Tower
Vollmann Diaries 2: New River//\Salton Sea
Vollmann Diaries 3: Into Mexico
Vollmann Diaries 4: Progress, Always, Progress
Vollmann Diaries 5: The Chinese Tunnels of Mexicali

I didn't read much further in Imperial yesterday because I had to drive to the Imperial County jail in El Centro, CA. to see some new clients of mine. Above is a photograph of the sun setting over the San Diego harbor. The sun doesn't care whether humans live or die- no matter how much we worship it as a deity. 75 degrees, 150 degrees, it really just doesn't matter to the sun.

Imperial Rothko

I was flipping through the 100+ pages of source notes at the end of Imperial and I noticed that Vollmann included a book about the American painter Mark Rothko. I thought that was funny, because I've often thought the landscape "out there" resembled a Rothko painting. The same could likely be said for any flat midwestern or western landscape.

Signal Mountain(?), Carrizo Mountain(?), Imperial County CA

After my jail visits I drove west through the farm land. The road twisted and turned based on no discernible relationship to the flat, featureless landscape. I found myself in front of a mid-century designed house/office which had "Brock Asparagus" on a sign written out front. Finally, rising out of the desert, what I believe to be Signal Mountain, as described by Vollmann, rose out of the desert in front of me. On Google Maps, this mountain has no name, although it appears to have a small town at its top called "el centinela"- "The Sentinel?" Maybe Google Maps interpolated the spanish name of the mountain and made it the name of a town they believe exists on top of the mountain. I don't know. (I turn Google Maps to "Satellite" and zoom in on Centinela- there is no town up there.)

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