Meadows No More

by Margie B. Klein

Las Vegas, Nevada

They called it ‘the meadows.’  Unimaginable

 that a hot-as-Hades desert with the allure 

of a gravel pit could have been this.  

Springs sprouted they said.  Creeks flowed they said.  

Swimming was the order of a summer day and no one 

seemed bothered by the heat.  Fruits and vegetables grew with abandon.  

Cattle grazed on native grasses.  This was the oasis 

of the Las Vegas territory.  Miners, miscreants and missionaries 

couldn’t resist the haven on their travels.  

Up went the way stations, up went the hotels, 

up went the town.  Down went the water table.  

Dry went the springs. Foreign tumbleweeds 

moved in along with the people.  Local humidity 

went down so people used swamp coolers, 

fueled by water.  They brought in tropical plants 

to decorate their mirage, and installed 

fountains, pools, and waterfalls.  They built and built, 

to the edges of the valley and beyond.    

Two million fools trying to subsist 

on a draining artificial reservoir.  Hey, let’s try 

to use native plants; conserve our water in the shower. 

 It’s too late.  The boomtown will become a bust.  

A dusty ghost town will be left.  The businesses 

will close and the people will run.  

But where will the animals go?  

Margie B. Klein is a freelance writer and retired natural resources professional. A long-time resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Klein has advocated for the preservation of natural areas and for public education about them. She is a fellow with the International League of Conservation Writers.