Saturday, January 23, 2010

All You Need Is Love

We had three life-changing weeks in southern Utah, eating the best food God has ever grown, prepared in the finest, purest way possible, sharing those meals with others interested in good health and the beauty of the natural world, spending half the day in the sunny outdoors and the other half working out, swimming, boxing, and, in short, improving ourselves physically. Now we were headed home to weave those new habits into our everyday lives.

Our spirits were up as we arrived at the Las Vegas airport. Yes, there were only 23 seats available on USAir's three flights to Chicago, but the odds were decent that one of them could accommodate us as stand-bys. We checked all our bags – clothing, toiletries, games, everything.

Our hopes remained high even when that first flight filled up and we moved to another concourse to try for the second time to get home. They stayed high when that second flight filled. But after waiting twelve hours in the airport, I was crestfallen when the third and final flight was a no-go. We would have to spend the night in Las Vegas, my least favorite city in the country. I was bummed.

My enlightened husband simply said, "I sense a lot of negative energy coming from you, Marie." Then he used all his energy to try to make lemonade from our circumstances. Leaving the airport, he surprised me with a copy of People, a travel indulgence from my road warrior days. He bought me a stuffed monkey and wrapped its arms around my neck in a silly hug. And when he checked us into The Mirage, he snared front row tickets to The Beatles' Love by Cirque de Soleil. This guy was really trying!

But Las Vegas was not where I wanted to be, and it is as different from St. George, Utah, as artificial breasts are from Zen meditation. I was crabby. I missed my family. I wanted to get home and start my new life. I was tired. I felt sorry for myself.

An hour later, I sat in the glamorous Mirage Theater, dressed like a yokel. I wiggled the toes inside my hiking boots and felt the sandstone grit I'd brought from Utah. Instead of the natural hues of the sun, sky, and mountains, now I was bathed in fluorescents, artificial fog, and sequin reflections. Poor, poor me.

But life is full of surprises. The lights went down, and the magic began. And I do mean magic. The show took my breath away. The Beatles' music -- so many of my favorites, one after another – brought back a wave of wonderful memories. Because it was a big production, singing along was allowed – and, of course, I loved that!

The strength, grace, and beauty of the performers! Their bodies and the way they moved. Sometimes they looked like they were flying! Sitting so close, we could see every muscle ripple. Having spent the last three weeks trying to strengthen my body, I had a greater appreciation of the exceptional abilities of the performers.

The costumes – clever, colorful, amusing, charming, unexpected, fantastical. A man in a blackbird costume who really looked like a bird. Trapeze artists as sea anemones. An outstanding gymnast dressed in a street vendor fat suit. Yellow, knee-high rain boots worn by a host of dancers and also moving by themselves in a chorus line!

The staging was daring. No, shocking! Unpredictable. Baffling! Entrances and exits were unexpected and inexplicable. Performers were lifted higher and higher until they disappeared through the top of the theater. Trampolines concealed in the floor for one moment and then miraculously removed. For several minutes, the entire audience was covered with one enormous parachute!

I loved the show! In its own way, it was as awesome, amazing, and memorable as the Utah canyons. I had a great time. It was a really fun night. I never expected our trip to end this way -- at a spectacular Las Vegas production. But I think this is where it was supposed to wrap up.

The show wrapped up with the Beatles' song, All You Need Is Love. I'm thinking that's really true. Especially if that love is a love of life – and a willingness to let yourself go along with all of life's twists, turns, and completely unexpected moments of joy.

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