On that fateful Easter Sunday, in the Bellagio’s Atrium, we had only begun our contemplative journey, our internalization of the grand artistic display swimming around us. Fresh from our resurrection, we stood ready to dive deep into the meticulously arranged prana.
One word echoed in my head. Escape. There is something mysteriously alluring about escaping the anywhere but here, the anytime but now.
Our lives are grand, our riches vast, and yet still, we seek something outside of ourselves. We search for realities and experience that speak directly to our complex neural cortices and stimulate our reticular activation systems. Our eyes bright with fervent longing, we divorce ourselves from the moment, from nature, and from one another to bail headlong into the matrix.
What was the Bellagio trying to tell us with their grand floral display?
We stepped into the brightly sun-lit atrium, and our senses were immediately assailed with combinations of colors more complex than mathematics describing the interstellar orbital mosaics of planets. It was dizzying.
The power of the moment, an abrupt transition from crowded Las Vegas casino to crowded engineered garden, was all present. Our brains denied the sudden tectonic shift in awareness causing our bodies to stand frozen as they scrambled to reconcile how our internal and external worlds would engage.
The world before us, centered in the heart of the Las Vegas ‘strip,’ stood surreal, a giant bloom of fragrant color that was both an abstract, cartoon-like interpretation of the natural world, and a quick glimpse into the psyche of humanity’s collective desire to continually manifest an unreality.
Transplanted flowers, life-sized plastic trees, ridiculously large floral representations of birds and turtles with lifeless stares, real live koi fish, and all inside a casino, in a desert…. We have expected to see Alice and the Mad Hatter sitting next to us.
Indeed, the city of Las Vegas itself could easily stand as tribute to this somewhat amorphous concept, a melting point for where our dreams mix with concrete and dust. The feeling of being close to such contrived nature was that of instant amusement and appreciation for the artists.
We crept toward the floral displays with our cameras in hand, ducking the extended selfie-handed taller patrons, and dodging jubilant young ones that darted around, a peripheral chaos of humans falling around us in waves of confetti. The struggle to capture the awesomeness of the micro and macro illusions unique to this display stirred an undercurrent of discontent. We wanted the perfect shot, we wanted to connect, we wanted to be fully enveloped in the power of the art, but the milling masses pulled and tugged at our animal brain. The potential for total immersion suffered an odd death at the hands of a thousand innocent leaky faucets.
There is this phenomenon that is the power of a shared experience, and where strangers will greet each other with silent gazes and expressions that wordlessly exclaim, “Did you see that!?” We look for affirmation of our own amazement in the eyes of anyone reeling from the same experience. Perhaps there were those in the crowd that were reeling, and as for us, we felt overwhelmingly in-the-way. Our young, eager selves were not quite tall enough to peer over the crowd to see the beauty beyond but for more than an instant.
We jumped, we ducked, we used our elbows, and we glimpsed the matrix. Escape proved elusive in the Bellagio’s Garden that day, though we left the atrium with an assured feeling that there remained a healthy portion of untasted appreciation between artist and artee. Perhaps we would return some other time….
Have you ever felt divorced from the moment? What did that feel like? What brought you back? Share your thoughts below, or maybe just let us know how we can do better.
Thank you for reading. Episode 3 »