There's a lot to be said about the city of Las Vegas and "natural" is not one of those things. It's a weird and unique city that, like any controlled substance, must be taken in small doses. Upon a recent visit, this Bird was struck by its opposites -- it's both lush and arid, lonely and crowded, profane and sanctified. I've lived in the desert before, in the equally parched land of Arizona, so I understand how everything needs to be brought in, as very little can grow naturally, and even then I wondered, maybe we're not meant to live on every square inch of this planet. Las Vegas is that and more, as everything is transplanted -- people, themes, whole concepts that are literally plucked from history or one's imagination and then rebuilt as something new, with ringing bells and flashing lights. It's both amazing and frightening. Tightly packed houses of new construction, a long strip of modern hotels with the likes of Venice and ancient Egypt, rising from the dust in the middle of an empty basin; it puts a Bird in an unsettled Mood, watching the natural landscape disappear and turn into an urban desert sprawl.

The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands. - Havelock Ellis

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. - Henry David Thoreau

Such is the audacity of man, that he hath learned to counterfeit Nature, yea, and is so bold as to challenge her in her work. - Pliny the Elder

Jaunty Fine Print: photos by Denise Sakaki

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