I recently had to spend five days in Las Vegas. Five days and four nights too many. Despite living just a four hour drive away for most of my life, it was my first time there. I was attending a teacher’s math conference, which was great, but I could barely tolerate my surroundings. To me Vegas (the strip in particular) shows off some of the most despicable traits of our capitalist, sexist society. Its excess invokes strong feelings in me. I won’t go into all the reasons I despise Las Vegas, but I will say for one, it all sits in the middle of a desert, which just adds insult to injury. It is like giving the finger to Earth.
Every time I used a towel, I would imagine all the towels that would be washed on that day, from all the rooms in all the hotels. Tens of thousands of them. In the desert. During a drought.
Some people love the desert. They get the same feelings of peacefulness, life, and rejuvenation that I do from the mountains. I am not that connected to the desert, but I do get it when I see the changing light over the landscape, especially when storm clouds are moving in. But, really not my thing. I prefer lush green forests and rugged mountain ridges.
After having spent a week there I had dryness on my mind as I returned to the garden. I always feel a bit melancholy when things start to shrivel up in the beds, even though that is the natural course of things and sometimes necessary to bring a vegetable to its peak state or to alert us to when it is so. Some things are meant to be dry. So, I am trying to look at the crumbling leaves and browning vines in a different way, trying to appreciate them more and to remember there is a squash or a bean pod attached somewhere on the end.
And dried up vines mean there will soon be an empty space in the garden to plant something new.
Oh, and have I mentioned that dry beans are one of my absolute favorite things to grow? So, what am I complaining about? It is kind of paradoxical.
I have no plans of ever returning to Las Vegas unless asked to go to another conference. One of my colleagues said as we fled, “Maybe we will be able to better prepare ourselves psychologically if we ever have to go again.” I hope that is true. And as I returned to my garden with some portions starting to crisp up – I came with a new appreciation – in sort of a weird juxtaposition to all that water usage and excess in the desert – that some things are meant to be dry.
They are their most beautiful when brittle and easily cracked.