The Deafening Noise and Transient Joys of Las Vegas

Many people take a side trip from Las Vegas to visit the Grand Canyon. So I can’t be the first to comment on the jarring juxtaposition of ephemeral, glitzy, often tacky and ever-changing Vegas with a desertous, majestic, inhumane canyon carved from bedrock over billions of years. Don’t misunderstand me: I think Las Vegas truly beautiful beyond description. While there, the phrases “pursuit of happiness” and “only in America” persistently flashed like neon-colored idée fixe in my addled, overstimulated brain. I lost sense of time and mortality. I loved Vegas. But then I ventured a few hours out into the desert and there a beautiful canyon crushed my patriotic smallness and petty sense of self with the sheer vastness of time and space it measures. I can’t think of two visions of the universe more far apart from each other – though physically separated by a short bus ride.

These two photos of my wife on our 10th anniversary trip – and two Bob Dylan songs for captions – break it down for me:

"I heard the deafening noise/ I felt transient joys/ I know they're not what they seem/ In this earthly domain/ Full of disappointment and pain/ You'll never see me frown/ I owe my heart to you/ And that's saying it true/ And I'll be with you when the deal goes down" - Bob Dylan from "When the Deal Goes Down"

"You can touch and twist/ And turn two kinds of doorknobs/ You can either go to the church of your choice/ Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital/ You'll find God in the church of your choice/ You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital/ And though it's only my opinion/ I may be right or wrong/ You'll find them both/ In the Grand Canyon/ At sundown" - Bob Dylan from "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie"

I’ve previously written on “When the Deal Goes Down” as the perfect love song for my wife here. She anchors both of these photos – and experiences – as she anchors my life.

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3 Responses to The Deafening Noise and Transient Joys of Las Vegas

  1. Love the words of Bob Dylan…..but your writing is my favorite.

  2. Hi, I have nominated your blog for the Genuine Blogger Award. Please visit: http://maryannepale.com for more details. 🙂

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