Wide Open Spaces

It’s easy to forget you live in the West (capital W) in Las Vegas.  The landscape is all strip malls — havens of nails places, Subways, 99 cent stores, and lots of empty store fronts waiting for retailers.  They dominate the view so exclusively, the mountains are only a foggy background behind a cheap consumer’s dream.

These strip malls are everywhere — that’s a given.  But the roads in our little corner of town are still under construction, and the shoulders are just dust and scrub.  There are houses that are NOT part of a development here, houses that were built by Westerners who said to themselves, “I’d like to just see the city TRY to get out THIS far!”


Hindsight is 20/20, so hopefully these folks have a good sense of humor, and still appreciate their little 2-3 acres.  In a city where .5 acres is considered an “estate lot,” they are practically kings. What I like best about living close to these old Vegas types — the ones who were here first — is that they remind me that I live not in America’s cultural wasteland, but in the West.

Tonight as Patrick and I were driving home from the marching band show, we were storming down the road, twirling through roundabouts, admiring the sunset and the dusty light of evening on our way to dinner.  As I wound around the second roundabout, I did a double-take to my right.  A man was riding a white dappled horse, his six-year-old grandson in front of him, and two scruffy dogs flouncing nearby.  They were trotting along, enjoying the light too, but at a slower pace and I enviably watched them live in the West.  It did help me remember that I can “live in the West” too, but that becomes farther and farther away as the responsibilities of the school year and the ennui of a working life settle in.  The time for a change is coming.  The West calls…


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