I had one terrible day in January: Inauguration day. I had been sick for weeks and the overwhelming anxiety of a new presidency finally became too much. I stayed in bed with a migraine all day. The following weeks became a blur of heartbreak and uneasiness. The news worsened each day. I needed to escape, at least for a moment.
One longish plane ride and a short car ride later, I was facing the outside of a geodesic dome. It came with the promise of interstellar travel, if you are just willing to open your mind. I walked through the door and closed my eyes.
It was transporting... sort of. I definitely went to another world, but maybe not an interstellar one. It's a place where the trees don't make sense. You know they are trees even though they don't really look like trees. A place with seemingly zero water supply, but somehow, against all odds, life has found a way. The plants are in abundance, just not the kind you see on a regular basis: cacti, Suessical trees, long grasses, succulents.
Clambering over rocks, we found a place to rest. Let our souls soak up the sun. It had been months since the sunlight hit my skin and warmed me from the outside in. My worries melted away and I found I really had traveled to another planet. One not so far from here, but also not easy to get to. The most difficult kind of travel doesn't involve turbulent flights or winding bus routes, but instead an open mind.
We were welcomed with open arms, but only briefly. We were discouraged from staying too long. The real world is still moving forward and it needs you to move with it.
To return, you have to go back through the door you came from. It seems futile walking into place so briefly and then backtracking your way home. While, physically, you end up right where you started, you never forget what you saw on the other side of that door, in a parallel universe.
I returned home to politics, bills, emails. After seeing the other side, the determination of life in the desert, regular life did not seem so insurmountable as before. I returned without complaint, and with a new set of eyes.
When it all seems so hopeless, I just close my eyes and think of the Suessical trees. How they found a way despite harsh conditions, and realize, we will make it too. We just have to find another way. Things aren't going to be as they were, but they certainly don't have to be so bad. It's time to put panic and complaint aside and do something positive for this world. Because as far as I know, it's the only one we have. There is no place for me on the other side, only this one.