Other Worlds

One thing that I have clung to from my childhood is the idea that it is possible to find portals from this worlds into other, more magical ones. If you are lucky enough to find. If you know where to look. If you’re willing to recognize them. And if you’re brave enough to believe in it.

Every now and then when I am alone, I will find one of these moments, where I feel quite certain that if I just went off my normal course, or did just the right thing, that I would pass through into another world. Some things that have made me feel this way:

  • Walking around campus, there’s a wide paved path leading to the back of my university’s main library. One night in the spring, when the light was just right, the trees lining the path were in bloom, and there was no one on that particular route, I felt that if I went that way, I wouldn’t come home.
  • We have this really beautiful mirror that we got as a wedding present, hand-made by an old landlord (who is also a friend). The mirror is circular, with an impressively heavy, layered frame of curly maple. I’m certain that if I surprised it one day, I’d be able to get through.
  • Walking through a park one Sunday during the first thaw of the year. The ground was coated in refrozen melted snow, creating a softly undulating surface of ice. The ice was covered in a layer of a water, so that the entire park was a huge series of connected puddles with small mounds of ice peeping through all over. the water was calm, and reflected the world in a patchwork form, like thousands of tiny windows into an upside-down world. One that I certainly could have found a way into, if I had wanted to.

Of course, I don’t really believe any of this, but I still really value the feeling that comes over me at these moments; the sense of possibility, and adventure. The opportunity for escape.

But the real reason I’ve been thinking about this lately, and the point that made me want to write, is that the last time this happened, there wasn’t the same level of melancholia to the feeling as there used to be; that tickle in the back of my head that can’t decide if I’m sad because I know it’s not real (I’ve never actually tried to pass through any of these portals, because they’re much more beautiful if they haven’t been disproven), or because I feel like I’m not brave enough to try.

These days, I don’t have that problem. Because I don’t want to escape this world, not really. I’m happy here, or if not happy, at least usually pretty content. And I can’t imagine I’d find anything better on the other side.

This world is good enough for me, I guess.

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