The World is Not the Earth

October 5, 2009
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My tiny sandaled feet plod along the dew-covered ground as I make a frivolous voyage to the other side of the yard. Halfway there, I realize my plastic diapered baby doll didn’t come with me. Searching frantically about, I begin to wail for the loss. Then I spot a bald, sculpted head peeking over the edge of a massive flower pot. It’s my baby! I run over and collect it, feeling complete and fulfilled. In the most loving way, I grab it by the head and drop it into the tiny fish-printed blow-up pool we just discovered. Jumping in too, I splash and play in this chilly wonderland, never knowing time or world. I am merry and unrestrained.



Wedding Barbie is knee-deep in the damp dirt. My small hands had tired of holding her, so the obvious solution was the stab her into the ground in frustration. Conveniently, this caused her to stand without my help. This is terribly exciting. I yell to my little sister, who comes wobbling over cheerfully. Admiring my handiwork, I lift Barbie’s already too short dress to show how she’s standing. Little Sarah doesn’t understand just how important this is. I sigh and lean back, grabbing fistfuls of half-dead grass and casually tearing them up, this being a regular pastime among the other children I know. The sound of the grass ripping is for some reason deeply fascinating.


The dusty damp smell of basement makes me squint my eyes and cough. My sister and I have been down here all day, as we are every day. From the top of the rough wooden stairs, my mother yells down that our food is at the top of the stairs. Looking around, I realize there isn’t a way to get there. We’ve covered the floor, in its entirety, with a supermassive Bratz and Barbie metropolis. Shiny pink plastic is virtually everywhere. Choosing the most direct route, I drop the doll I was trying to force an implausible set of pants onto and head for the grocery store. Placing my right foot just before the checkout counter, I use the bare cement walls for support. My left foot then lands dangerously close to the hot-pink-cheetah-print-couch-laden schoolroom, where Ken is teaching six or seven Barbies about travel. A hop over Chelsea’s apartment, and I’ve reached the stairs. As I place my foot carefully on the first step, to avoid splinters, I look to the one tiny window, that brings in light from ground level. It’s too high up for me to reach, even when I stand on the pool table. It holds no attachment for me. Instantly diverting my gaze, thoughts of the outdoors disappear at record speed.


My driveway is a cool refuge from the humid summer air. My next door neighbor and I have been using roller blades and scooters to travel this little distance for hours now. We’ve roller bladed backwards, forwards, on each other’s backs, with one leg, all the while leaving a path of chalk. When we get tired of pushing the limits of roller blading, we go over to an ant colony and try to roll over the individual ants with our front wheels of our skates while pouring water down the ant hill and watching the little creatures scatter. We find this highly amusing. With squished little black lumps all over our skate wheels, we head back out to the driveway for more playing.


It’s about one-hundred and ten degrees of pure humidity in Utah today. I’m strolling along a dirt path through an overgrown field of wildflowers. At first, I’m taken by its beauty. The sweet scent is overpowering, and the colors are vibrant as wet tempera paint. As I continue along the path, the bees and spiders begin to grow in number. I hate bees and spiders. Avoiding the flowers, I stay to the middle of the walkway, hardly enjoying the beauteous scene around me. I finish the hike feeling unfulfilled and hating bugs.


The sun will be setting soon. It’s a cool, windy fall day. I’m trying to bring myself to finish writing a paper on The Odyssey, but it seems silly. What a waste of my time. I turn to watch the leaves fall past my open window. Unexpectedly, I am suddenly taken by the ridiculousness of this scene. Here I am, sitting inside on such a beautiful evening, wishing I could be outside where humans naturally belong, wishing I could become a part of the Earth, yet not doing that. What is going on?! Why do I not go outside right now? I run through my head school, college, careers, and then realize that isn’t life at all. Barefoot, wearing a thin sundress and a wooden bracelet, I escape through my empty garage into the forest. The dry leaves crackle and crunch beneath my toes as I prance. I drop to the ground and stare up at the grey sky through the leaves. As a spindly black spider crawls over my arm, I shut my eyes and dream.





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