Scene: Las Vegas Fall

It doesn’t rain often in Las Vegas. The air get’s stale after a while. It’s the same air you breathed yesterday, the day before, and the four or five weeks previous–it feels recycled.  The streets, covered in dust and oil, serve out their days with hardly a wash from mother nature. They compile a layer of gunk brought on by the two million people living in the Las Vegas valley but rarely complain. Rather their existence casts a sort of worn dirty look over the town, even as the sun beats down on it. The streets look like the homeless that live on them–disturbed only by the shiny, rich colors of neon lights and expensive cars. Maybe some would find a sort of mechanical and rhythmic beauty in how the residents begin to look like their surroundings. The homeless like the streets, the girls like the dancers, and the men like tourists gawking and looking. And there is some strange sense of uniformity and symbiotic sustenance, which I suppose could be thought of as beautiful. Personally, I’m waiting for it to rain.

It’s finally starting to feel like fall here. It came on suddenly. I had to wear a jacket yesterday. Maybe the city will see snow for Christmas or New years this year. I’ve already seen it on Mt. Charleston. But I’m not waiting for the snow.

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It doesn’t always cover the whole city. The rain will pop in like an uninvited guest and leave just as quickly–as if recognizing his mistake. I don’t know where he goes, but he leaves behind this scent that I will never forget. When it rains in the dessert, the air becomes crisp and clean. You don’t breath the water in the air, you breath the cool scent of sagebrush and damp clay. Even in the narrowed halls of Las Vegas Blvd. this scent interrupts the industry of entertainment and reminds us that we built our machine in nature’s yard.  The streets of Vegas are made new in the rain. The soot and dirty oil left from thousands of cars and millions of people flows into a network of canals to be washed away with gravity.

I see Vegas best after the rain. It lets the city take a breath, even as it stretches out in a linear grid that ends abruptly on the edge of the desert in unnatural squares. It feels more like it belongs there after the rain.

We pray for the rain in Vegas too. The people in the city look too much like the streets of Vegas. They are stale with their surroundings and they need a refresher…they need to remember that they are human. They need to remember what that even means amongst the thriving metropolis of facade.

I pray this for Vegas. I pray that our work here can be the beginning of a deep and lasting rain.

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