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Utopia Is the Smell Of Grandma’s House In The Spring

What does utopia feel like?

My ideal utopia exits and is blissfully accessible through the world of my imagination.

Via the aid of my imagination - my most treasured possession - I am able to immediately transport myself to one thousand alternate utopias, as and when I please.

To me, utopia is made up of the warm pleasantries of nostalgia and the twinkling ambition of the dreams of the future. They concoct upon the velvet swirl of the night sky, a million stars cascading across my mind’s eye. They remind me to hold on, to cartwheel my way through the darkness. The precious recollections of the years gone by stand behind me, gently pushing me forwards, while the hopes of the years to come take my hand and guide me onwards.

During those occasions when life proceeds to wrap its hands around my neck while insistently jabbing at me with icicle fingers, I allow my army of utopias to drift over me. Whether I’m sat at my desk at work, or lying in bed at night unable to sleep, I am always blessed with a world away from reality, without even having to move.

What defines such utopia? Anything I so desire and require, at any given time. The characterisation of utopia all depends on the reasoning behind my calling. I might seek out some reassurance, in which case I would gift myself with a daydream featuring a future version of myself. In contrast, I might just crave reminiscence with delicate ingredients of my cherished past; a comfort blanket of memories.

Utopia is the smell of my Grandma’s house in spring – a bundle of lilac hyacinths in a pot on the windowsill.

Utopia is the seemingly endless summer days spent paddling in streams with my Grandad, devising pixie traps in the forests.

Utopia is the innocent magic of Christmas Eve, and the everlasting sense of unknown adventure that silently shrouded the house on that same night every year, as I lay, convincing myself of the sound of sleigh-bells across the hills.

Utopia is that winter’s morning back in 2005, and the early morning ride I shared with my childhood pony; the soft pad of the hoofbeats against the fresh canvas of the untouched snow echo through my memory.

Utopia is lying on the top deck of the boat in Dubrovnik with my partner, alone with the breeze, counting the shooting stars as they catapulted overhead.

Utopia is a yearning for the simplicity of long, Sunday strolls with the dog, followed by a pub lunch.

Utopia is the aspiration that one day, a wider audience far and wide will read and relish my stories, and become as fiercely fond of my beloved characters as I am.

Utopia is all of the little, insignificant details that we have been lucky enough to encounter, that make up a montage of natural beauty afore our thoughts: the gentle rise and fall of the hillsides in their flame-coloured Autumn glory, the divinely refreshing feeling of the incoming tide caressing our toes, a winding forest path, fresh with the irreplaceable dew of fresh rainfall.

Utopia through imagination grants us with the stunning ability to touch every one of our senses, and brings the places we considered to be too far away to touch back into our fingertips. Imagination-fuelled utopia allows us to temporarily recall the taste of Grandma’s unrivalled home-made strawberry flan, the touch of the comforting hug of our Mother that seemed to block out the world, the sight of Dad standing at school gates every Friday that filled our eyes with joy, the sound of pebbles dancing across the lake as Grandad taught us to skim stones, and the smell of the real Christmas tree that established the cosiness of our childhood homes.

Utopia is not a place, but a feeling, and is somewhere we are all capable of visiting limitlessly if we only remember to leave open the door.

Cara Jasmine Bradley ©


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