I call it Hidden Valley.It has nothing to do with salad dressing and everything to do with my vision of a better world.It has become a running joke within my family.Whenever I encounter an injustice, a corruption, or superfluous rule, I plant my feet, square my shoulders and proclaim, “In Hidden Valley, [insert solution here]!”.For example, in Hidden Valley, political campaigns are all about ideas.Candidates can be anyone.They fire up their laptops and present their ideas to the general public.Citizens vote for ideas, not people.In Hidden Valley, there will be no genetically modified foods, no gratuitous trademarks or copyrights.I would strongly proclaim, “Humans cannot copyright plant genes.Sorry, Monsanto.”Resting in the rich soil of Hidden Valley are my hopes for a just and peaceful world.I am no idealist. I know what I’m asking. To reach the safety of Hidden Valley, I have to take risks and leave my comfort zone.
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To realize the safety of Hidden Valley, I have to be dangerous.How ironic.
I can build Hidden Valley on my computer screen.In fact, I spend a lot of time looking at screens.It’s not just me; we all look at screens all of the time, a collection of pixels representing the world and all its parts.Pixels are minuscule color dots that, when joined with other minuscule dots, create the illusion of an object.If I want to be inspired, I look at thousands of pixels that make up words and pictures on a screen.What Hidden Valley becomes is up to me.
I pour out my heart into shapes and symbols that represent a freshly created world where I am in control and all is well, a Hidden Valley just for me.I am emboldened to express my creativity, vent my frustrations and solve my problems.The impossible is within my grasp; where I can build a base on the moon or construct a castle in a day.Excitement in a hard drive.These simulations of a 2D Hidden Valley can become a collection of my own little realitiesBut when my creation is compared to the real thing, there can be little mistake about which reality is the tangible one.Pixilated sunrises and simulated waterfalls can only sustain my cravings for visual beauty for so long.I long for authenticity.That’s when I realize that the way to Hidden Valley is over a bridge, a bridge that might hide a few trolls.
While my idealized safe place is purely fictitious, the bridge is not.It represents a very real quest for knowledge and understanding as well as a desire to better our world.The obstacles are formidable and the path is treacherous, so I must look for companions who share similar goals and wish to collaborate in order to solve problems.Through hard work and like-minded support, the valley can become a lot less hidden.