My flight out of Salt Lake was severely delayed and I was last on the standby list for the next one out. Tired of sitting on a heater grate, tired of being in an airport, I decided to drive. The ticket agent said it would take six hours to get to Vegas. Someone nearby said it would be closer to seven. I had already sat three hours on a plane, two on that grate. What's another six? Besides, at least I would be moving.
I was surprised by the smog in Salt Lake, glad when it gave way to the slate gray Wasatch, the broad expanse of Great Basin. My ears began to pop as the road began to descend outside of St. George, but it wasn't until I crossed the Arizona line when my heart began to race. The sandstone, the red rock. The canyons o the Virgin River valley. I was physically affected, emotionally moved by a place in a way I hadn't been in years, not since that junior high trip to Maine.
The sun set out in front of me, I rolled down the windows to smell the mesquite dryness of the desert and felt like I was in a moment I never wanted to end.
I rolled into Vegas after dark, wishing I could go back.