Sin City

Last month I spent a week in a monastery chasing down God and Thomas Merton; this month ends with a trip that will take me in a dramatically different direction. My husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this week, so he is taking me on a second honeymoon—to Las Vegas!

Now, this is not necessarily a place I was dying to get to. But I am intrigued by its reputation for sin and debauchery. I don’t plan to indulge in any bad behavior there, though I am looking forward to seeing plenty of it from other people! Great fodder for fiction. As the monastery made its own contribution to the novel I am currently writing, so too, I think, will the city in the desert with the big lights and casinos. We are not going to gamble or drop big bucks for fancy shows or food; we will simply walk the Strip and observe. And good old Tom will follow me here, since I have an assigned article to write about him, with a mid-June deadline. Can I write about his mission of mercy and social justice in the glittering city of winners and losers and materialism on a massive scale?  Maybe poolside, with a good stiff drink—in hollowed-out fruit with a little umbrella. Don’t worry, Tom would approve: he certainly knocked back quite a few at his little hermitage away from Gethsemani.

I’m not even going to try to ferret out any kind of spirituality from my stroll down the Strip, but then I came up with a great idea. We will only be there for three days, but I convinced my husband to rent a car so we could get out into the desert. This seems to be a city surrounded by spectacular Western scenery, and the Desert Fathers must have been on to something. Looking forward to being awed and amazed by whatever natural beauty we stumble across.

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