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Elihu Vedder: Mural, Lobby to Main Reading Room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Main figure is seated atop a pedestal saying "CORRUPT LEGISLATION".
"I might have always been more potential than being."

None of my life makes any sense without accepting the likelihood that AlternateUniverses exist. I might instead attempt to follow a thread I presume to connect the disparate portions of my existence so far, but that story, one attempting to relate each piece to every other, strains credulity more than the AlternateUniverses alternative; it would not make believable fiction. I'm not arguing in favor of wildly divergent spaces, but subtly different ones, at least for the most part. I've thrived in places I formerly considered uninhabitable and found almost uninhabitable places touted as the best Earth has to offer. I feel fortunate to have experienced such tremendous difference. I've struggled with pretty much every transition, for within each I first searched for stuff that could not be found there because it didn't exist there, but I eventually adapted after some fashion and found myself settling in, usually in spite of initial instinctively unhelpful adaptation attempts. I found that I had to let go of some expectations to appreciate each place. What appeared, for instance, on my first visit to New Mexico, as a culture full of crappy gardeners later came to seem one which had adapted well to the local terrain. There are no English Country Gardens thriving in parched high desert country.

I feel proud to report that I spent considerable time over several years writing and reading in the Main Reading Room of The Jefferson Building of DC's Library of Congress, by far the most complete library ever assembled.
It dwarfs the more-touted ancient Library at Alexandria which was said to have contained the knowledge of the ancient world when it was destroyed sixteen hundred years ago. The world thereafter became an utterly different place. Some speculate that we might have avoided the whole Dark Ages thing had we retained that information. Humanity had to recreate it, painstakingly, without the presence of any Platos or Pythagoruses. We suddenly inhabited an AlternateUniverse. I never touched even one half of one-millionth of one-percent of the Library of Congress' holdings, but I could order up almost anything to my reading desk, and did. I learned there the subtly significant difference between search and research, a distinction which utterly shifted my universe. The only price of admission was the one extracted by the hardwood chair I had to sit on for long languorous days absorbing, a minor yet significant distraction. That extended episode now seems as if I inhabited heaven then, a definitely AlternateUniverse.

But then, who's to say that even today I don't inhabit a heaven of sorts? It might be that any experience that doesn't utterly do me in might just have been a taste of heaven. Of course, nobody suspects that they might be immortal going in, but upon exit, that formerly unlikely explanation might ring more true-ish. So much of what I've assumed was similar turned out upon closer scrutiny to have been utterly different. We might be similar enough in some respects, but how, other than AlternateUniverses, does anyone explain the conspiracy theorists? Some insist that the sciences might resolve the warring perspectives, but it hasn't yet. The rich really are different from the rest of us, but then so are the poor. We might, indeed, share a common humanity, but our freeways diverge, and wildly, from there. Even those times when I was blessed to immerse myself in some alien place for an extended time, I left with more unanswered questions than enlightened answers. I guess that I mostly learned that I would not ever understand, which seems both a back-handed enlightenment of sorts as well as great wisdom. I live largely in ignorance of all I could not possibly understand. I fill in the gaps with naive assumptions and proceed. How utterly silly of me.

I recognize as I consider HeadingHomeward that I'm opening myself to all the benefits as well as the insults commensurate to moving anywhere, even, probably especially, any place once familiar. My neighbors here, I've come to understand, inhabit slightly AlternateUniverses, their views just that much different from ours. Some can see the HO-scaled city from their windows, but we can't. We look Northwest into rocky wilderness while others peer East over infinite prairie, and each subtle shift of perspective seems to change more than might immediately seem warranted. Nobody can help any of it. Context rules with an iron fist, insisting without ever mentioning its presence. We dutifully absorb and react. We eventually become where we are, not merely who we were. Who might only be sorting through AlternativeUniverses to imprint anew. I might have always been more potential than being.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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