Monday, March 28, 2011

Ho-Hum or Exotic?

During the past few weeks, the Las Vegas winds have been brutal. I passed a vacant lot at the height of it and saw hundreds of tumbleweeds had collected in the downwind fence, creating a brown spiky sculpture.

It’s strange to see tumbleweeds in excess. When I grew up in southern Indiana, tumbleweeds were exotic – those lonely things that drifted across the road in old Westerns. When we took a trip out West one summer, Mom put one in her trunk so she could show her elementary art students. It hung on a string from the ceiling of her art room for years.

Another exotic item that is now commonplace for me is the palm tree. We have two in our front yard and even more in back, and I pass them on practically every road I drive in Las Vegas. But as a kid, I only saw them when we drove to Florida for vacation. In fact, it was a contest to see who would see the first palm tree. Usually it was me, and I would yell excitedly when I saw it.

What other things have now become commonplace in my life? Glitz, neon lights, celebrities, plastic surgery, slot machines, cacti, city-people, traffic…to name a few. All of these things were foreign to me in my little home town, but not necessarily as exciting as tumbleweeds or palm trees.

So, now I have changed. Now, the little things that were ho-hum in my little childhood life are now considered special…rain, thunderstorms, front porches, lightning bugs, football games on woods-surrounded fields, town festivals…towns in which the one stoplight was a novelty.

But the grass is always greener, right? I’m older and know not to take my palm trees, or my tumbleweeds, for granted. I live in an exotic place, and I can appreciate that.

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