I have a wish. I think we all have that one special one. For me, every time I threw a coin in a fountain or found a stray eyelash or the clock turned 11:11, I always wished the same wish, ever since I was a little kid. All cards on the table, it may not have stopped at childhood, but alas.
That wish was for unicorns to be real. For real.
I have always desperately wanted to live in a fantasy world, a Middle Earth post-peace treaty with the dark lord kind of place (peace treaty as in, we kill you, evil eye o’ fire, and now there is peace), full of beautiful, ethereal elves that dress visitors in pretty robes, tall, broad-shouldered, manly Nordic-looking men with beards and long, yankable hair (I have a thing for the Thor type), and hobbits living in the hillside with those ornately-carved round wooden doors and a well-stocked kitchen, and everyone everywhere rides a horse, and it’s socially acceptable to wear a cape in public and the ladies wear those dresses that have 50 layers or something so they’re always toasty warm.
I have wished for this place with such a fervor that I’m surprised I haven’t yet willed it into being.
My favorite book is not a book at all, but the entire Lord of the Rings series, including The Hobbit. They are my favorite even though Tolkien somehow accidentally left out the unicorns in them, the rest of the story is so all-encompassing for me that I know they’re there. They must be. There are online forums dedicated to the question with very serious-sounding debate. The unicorns, they’re just hiding somewhere, like the world of my dreams inThe Last Unicorn.
The Last Unicorn is my absolute most favorite movie in the world and I cry every time I watch it and turn into a 5-year-old again. I cry even when I see horses run, because in my mind, they’re all unicorns and we’re jaded humans that can’t see the horns. Seabiscuit, for example, is not a movie for tissues, at least not during the race scenes. Except with me it is, because of the running.
I had this computer game years ago, a game called Zoo Tycoon. It’s like Sim City, but instead of building something boring like a city and managing taxes, you get fences and animals and food stalls instead.
There have been two Zoo Tycoon games, and while the second one is vastly superior (it has giant ground sloths that are bigger than elephants and who just happen to be carnivorous) but the first version was filled with fun little cheats. Check them out here, they get pretty epically inside-jokey.
Besides the obvious money cheat, if you made a tank with the Marine Mania expansion pack and put a mermaid statue in it, it explodes and you have real mermaids in your zoo. Or if you named one of the zoo guests Mr. Green, lots of guests would get sick and start puking. That was awesome.
But you have to be smart about which animals you put with which in terms of them eating each other. Penguins murder everything. Poor polar bears and Arctic wolves. It’s like, hey, why are my polar bears so unhappy? Are my stupid zookeepers not picking up poop fast enough? Oh, no, it’s because they’re being chased and eaten by homicidal penguins.
My favorite part was that if you built an empty exhibit and named it Xanadu, you could get unicorns. That’s right, unicorns. The lady unicorns were white, the dude unicorns were black (huge horns, too – oh, that was bad, apologies), and then when they had babies (baby unicorns!) they looked like little zebras with horns until they grew up.
The unicorns like things in their exhibits like weeping willows, Japanese maples and cherry trees. I built many zoos where I just put a gate in front of the entrance and crafted a wonderland with lakes and rivers and scenic bluffs and hidden pools and magic around every corner. Although this was an old game, and all crappy and kinda pixelated, in my head, Unicorn Land looked pretty close to today’s Daily Inspiration photo here.
This, Unicorn Land, is the land of happiness in my head, and I will live with hope forever that I will find it just around the next bend. Perhaps that is where my obsession with pathways comes from. You may notice a “pathway” theme develop here in the DI over time.
And if I ever do find Unicorn Land, then it will be just me and the unicorns and the unicorn babies and the various forest creatures that will sing with me (it would have to be in the middle of nowhere – I don’t sing in more than a whisper around people, [even though I can totally sing respectably] even when I’m home along, because a neighbor or random passing person might hear me and wish death on me – shut up, it would totally happen if I let my guard down) and the little forest creatures would help me with my chores in my secluded cottage where I’m safe and happy and people don’t judge me and I don’t feel the need to hide from the mailman to avoid unwanted social interaction.
Now to figure out how to get there…