Sunday, August 22, 2021

Las Vegas


In a thousand years, perhaps much less, this place will be like Chaco Canyon, megalithic architecture worn to its foundations by relentless wind and gnawing grit. Students of the past may chart its grid of streets, oriented to the cardinal directions, name its fallen bridges and pyramids and great houses. They will unearth and puzzle over its cubic stone living quarters, its catacombs and subterranean kivas with their thousands of pillars, where supplicants once knelt at prayer. They will dust away the sand from the mounds of chits and wonder what religious conviction, what cultural imperative would bring so many from so far, bringing so much, only to leave it behind.

Now, even the gold veneer is faded beige by desert dust. Mid-afternoon, 110 degrees. The concrete aqueducts fall behind us and there is only the gray road through gray sand, the gray-green tumbleweeds and the black escarpments, the stone that was hard enough to survive.

On the slopes of a wide sand-filled valley stand twin solar collectors, concentric rings of mirrors stretching out for what must be miles, all focused inward on the twin towers, impossibly tall, all out of scale to the humans who have constructed it for their inscrutable purposes. At their heads, brilliances of focused light, two burning white suns, descended upon desert altars.