The pills we swallow

What if I never visit Tokyo? Never sit on a low down stool outside an alleyway bar sipping sake while an alarming consortium of light signals to the gods a few streets down. What if I never see Tanzania? Red sunsets dying over Serengeti hills. The creatures of our fascinations, the ones that don our TV screens like mythical case studies, walking their kingdom in their silent castes. What if I never see the fireflies of Papua New Guinea? What if I’m never made to feel small and powerless under the northern lights? Or at the top of Norway’s great fjords? What if I never dive through a shipwreck on some at-one-time remote reef and, for a moment, become a part of its still and silent crew? 

What if I never see the micro-universes that share my planet? What if I’m never overtaken by their spirit? Can I be satisfied by the idea that they’re out there, their cities buzzing with life while I sleep? Will my soul ever be satiated if it never knows all that it hungered for? What things will I have to let go, what dreams must die?

So much of our existence as humans is defined by the instinct-driven core belief that there’s always tomorrow. That you can always start someday. That it’s never too late. But do we swallow this sentiment like a mood stabilizer? Do we become too compliant under the anthem we microdose on everyday? The possibilities of tomorrow and next year and the future are tantalizing and calming. But what if they never come? What if you get to the end of the line and there are no more pills to take? Just one more to swallow – the reality that we squandered away all that time and we never drank wine in bordeaux or spent a winter season at a German Christmas market or experienced the marked waters of Fiji or stood amongst the goats in trees of Morocco. 

There are deserts to ride camels through and trains to take through mountains and hikes to places that will make us weep. I curse the cages that were built around our lives before we even lived them. This grid that keeps us churning in place while the sun rises and sets on places we settle to see through screens. Somehow, someway, I will make it to the corners of the world that feel most far away. You simply won’t be able to keep me from them.

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