The Other Side

I’ve been to the edge of the world before. I know it seems like every other post I talk about some weird island or boat I’ve been to. Yeah, we get it, Ella, you like the ocean and lighthouses and schooners but what’s the point? What’s the point besides their aesthetic beauty or shiny galore. But when I’ve reached the end of the sidewalk like I did in the words of my childhood, when we haul anchor or my ferry arrives, when the sun has set over the horizon and the infinite amount of other suns bask over the universe for all of eternity; when I run and run and reach a place that even the atlas and maps on my desk wouldn’t recognize; that’s when I know I’m at the edge. 

At the Other Side, as I tell myself, sits a house with huge windows. It’s always dusk and the weather is always mellow. Something good simmers on the stove and a Chet Baker record spins. Time and calendars and watches on our wrists take no priority over the movement of the sun and the moon with horizons that feel just out of arms’ reach. I guess you could say, on the Other Side there is no time. Creeks stream and sparrows sing and when we feel hungry we sit down for dinner. In Peru, I sat in the depths of the Sacred Valley (colonized by my own act of tourism, although I did not know it yet). I saw the Other Side when the stars above me were different than the suns that usually watch me in the darkness of night. On the top bunk of the creaky old schooner I meditated on for weeks sits an inlet; Tarpaulin Cove where you can almost see a waterfall of the earth’s curve right in front of you. At Swan’s Island, there’s an old quarry surrounded by an ungated community of living that falls onto deep cold waters. Ah yes, she’s back at it again. Bragging about these natural wonders she’s been to and seen. But these places mean not a destination or travel bucket list item. These places are the Other Side. 


So what is the Other Side? Just now I’ve described multiple places and islands and boats and waters. The Other Side is wherever I enable it to be. It tastes of crushed blackberries dotted with pocket-fuzz. Lake water that makes your hair curly. The Other Side exists in a system devoid of capitalism or neoliberalism. The Other Side is a place I’ve only seen a couple of times in my life, but something my mind retrospectively ponders every single day. All the reading I do, all the time I spend scouring maps, all of these real-life, tactical, experiences are missing imagination I guess. Sometimes we get lost in places we’ve already been to that feel like places out of dreams. Places where we know a different world outside of words and longitudinal/latitudinal lines. In my imagination, I escape to these worlds and enter the house with huge windows. The weather is always mellow, something good simmers on the stove as a Chet Baker record spins. Missing from the echos of my ears is the steady tick tick tick of a wall clock. Because in the Other Side, time is a reality you can choose to create.

Published by ellakotsen

student at Bryn Mawr College

One thought on “The Other Side

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