Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A place of beauty and a game of chance

There are places which, at every first sight, immediately strike you as belonging to the world's great sitees of natural beauty. Danielle and I are at Lake Tahoe, and it's right up there with what's  most outstanding. A mountain lake stretching into the misty distance, with snow-covered peaks gazing down on all sides, the slopes covered with age-old woods extending as far as the eye can see.

Well, when I say ‘snow-covered’, they ought to be at this time of year, but today all they show is some pretty impressive rocks with odd patches of ice. The snow is only striking for its absence. Bad news for the villages clustered around the lake and which depend on the winter sports: they’re having a bad time of it.

As for us, we’re having to resign ourselves to not skiing, but it hasn't been hard. We're here because a group of my colleagues invited us along so I could join them for some discussions on product strategy, and they've been invaluable. Those colleaguese are also excellent company. So Danielle and I are enjoying spendign time with them, there’s plenty to eat and drink, and the setting is glorious.

Besides, as well as being beautiful, the setting has features than can conjure up a smile.

We happen to be in Nevada. We got here from California. And how did we know that we’d crossed the State Line? Just before we turned off the main road, we came across the infallible sign that we had moved into Nevada: a casino.
The landmark for our arrival in Nevada: the Heavenly Village Casino
But we lost the bet on snow
It’s in the same village, but a different state. On the California side, you can live in virtue with no contact with the corrupting influence of gambling. But if you’re tempted – well, just a few minutes walk will take you into the hands of the fiend and you can gamble your heart away.

Give me virtue. But only when I don’t feel like sinning. As a commandment it may seem a litte pragmatic, a true game of chance dependent on where the line between two States was drawn. That won't satisfy someone who believes that morality should be, well, a little more absolute than that. But at least a rule that flexible seems to take human nature more fully into account.

And it's probably a lot easier to apply to life.

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