"All I want is to stand in a field

and to smell green,

to taste air,

to feel the earth want me,

Without all this concrete

hating me."

~Phillip Pulfrey

Probably one of the very best parts of my day is how close I live to nature. At home, nestled into an old growth forest, I experience silence regularly. I can hear birds conversing, I can hear the sound of wind through trees. I often forget how far removed I am from the urban experience until I am in it. There are cities, and then there are cities… Las Vegas is, in fact, way more than just urban.

Often referred to as the adult Disneyland, the attractions in the form of world architectures that line the strip are bigger than life. Lit up like a party every night of the week, night and day run together in a blur. The culture inside each of the attractions is however identical. Rows and rows of slot machines, tables with dice or cards, higher tables with nearly naked young girls fill the space. I am overcome, and look at the faces of the players. Oddly in this playground for adults there are not that many smiling faces.

I often feel despair when I am in Las Vegas. My inability to relate to this form of being human is so large that I feel cutoff, stranded in a human zoo that is too noisy and chaotic to find any order. On my way back to my hotel room among the shops that line the spaces between casinos, I came across a stunning photo gallery by Peter Lik. His work, in large format film is breathtaking.

The prints themselves are so large, with colors so vivid and true that it feels like you could step into them. Seeing through his eyes feels like the best of seeing through my own when I am in nature. His talent allows him to capture the smallest of details in the context of the larger colorscapes of life, as well as the unexpected angles that the dance of light creates through trees or canyons.

Walking through the gallery, one of my favorite lines by ee cummings came to mind: “I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” I felt particularly soothed to find these huge images here, in the midst of a world that feels way out of control and so very far from our nature. I come back to my senses when I live in my relationship to the earth. Tonight it was enough just to bask in the beauty of someone else’s very generous point of view.