I’m smitten with this harsh and hot land.
Completely in love.
Where some people see failure, death and destruction, I see life.
I see it in the little trickles of water, in the Shoshan people, in the creosote, mesquite, the ephemeral spring flowers, the animals and the cacti…
…and in those who saw what I see.
This is the Amargosa Opera House.
It’s the home of the late Marta Becket. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can go read all about it, but in a nutshell, in 1967, Marta, who was a New York Ballerina, got a flat tire, had it fixed in a gas station right across the street, saw, what was then the remains of a row of shops and a dance hall for the old Borax mining company, rented it…
She painted the walls, ceiling and stage of the little dance hall, and danced and danced for the next 40 years there.
At first she had an audience of maybe 6 people, but eventually, this little opera house and Marta danced their way into history.
But I think that the most important this is that Marta did what she wanted to do…fulfilled her life’s purpose. Danced like no one was watching, because some times no one was watching, and lived happily ever after. (I imagine)
It took her five years, but I love the way she painted her own audience and just worked her art, did her own magic, made herself happy.
a few miles from Amargosa…ok, 89 miles but who’s counting, is the life’s work of another person who is an inspiration to me.
The China Ranch Date Farm is a little island of life.
The history is shaky and a bit sad, but it seems that a Chinese man, a refugee who worked the mines, decided that the miners lacked fruit in this harsh climate, and so planted a grove of date trees in this little area where there is a natural freshwater spring.
Eventually, he was usurped by a man named Morrison who owned guns…at gunpoint…the wild west.
But what remains is a legacy. A legacy of making it. Making a life of love and contentment…although I’m sure there were tons of road bumps and serious potholes along the way.
Still, that life well lived, a legacy to follow, that to me is the most wonderful life.
Read: To Dance on Sands by Marta Becket
Listened to: Glory in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)