My computer keeps showing me pictures. Every time I wake it up from sleep, it shows me a beautiful picture and even asks if I like it, and would like to see more like it. I always say yes to the nature ones, so it keeps showing me lots of nature pictures. Beautiful icy landscapes. Tall cliffs blocking the advance of tumultuous ocean waves. A crystal stream rambling its way through a green tropical forest. You get the idea. You probably have similar pictures popping up on the screensaver of your computer, or your TV, or Roku, or smart speaker…. these days, they are everywhere.
There is a downside about seeing these pictures of beautiful places. For me at least, it plants a little seed of discontent. I look at the beautiful place in the picture, then I think about where I am, and I wish I could be there instead of here. I’m sitting in an office building behind a desk while some lucky photographer got to be sitting on a rock, behind a camera, taking a picture of a waterfall. I want to be near the Amazon waterfall, not the office water fountain.
The truth is, most of my life I’ve dreamed of being somewhere I’m not. What would it be like to live in Alaska? How about living on a boat near the ocean? Maybe I could move to the mountains. These are mostly dreams that are only fantasies. They will never come true. Just like many of the pictures on my screensaver, they are places in life where I will never roam. It’s sad in a way. But it’s also not a complete story.
When you think about the guy sitting on the rock in the Amazon taking the perfect picture of the beautiful waterfall, do you also think about how hard that rock gets after a while? Or how many mosquitoes are gnawing on his skin? Or the 100 degree temperature and 99% humidity the guy has to endure perhaps for days just to get to and from the place where he can take the picture? Would you rather see the icy landscape? I wonder how cold it is there? How many long dark cold snowy nights would I have to endure to enjoy one day of sunshine on clean fresh snow and ice?
I know what it IS like where I am. I know what it can LOOK like some places where I think I want to be. But I also know that the way something looks and the way something is are almost never the same. I just have to keep reminding myself that. About a lot of things.