By Victoria Lynn Hall
As the sun rose over the Atlantic Ocean, our 21st century Alice awakened from yet another bizarre dream. She grabbed a journal and a pen from her nightstand and began writing down what she could remember, something about penguins and sea lions and… suddenly, she realized the dream wasn’t so bizarre after all. She had fallen down an internet rabbit hole the night before and gone from laughing at videos of cute, waddling penguins to having tears in her eyes as she read about lost and endangered species.
This always happened. The social media algorithms that eerily catered to her interests were constantly enticing her with images that represented the joy and beauty of animals while simultaneously promoting the very systems that were making this world uninhabitable for them and for us. No wonder her dreams didn’t make sense sometimes. The world didn’t make sense!
And yet as depressing as this was, she had that familiar urge to pick up her phone or open her laptop again. Why? She already knew what she would find there. On social media there would be people arguing about politics, taking sides when Democrats and Republicans both seemed hell bent on destroying our ecosystem as far as she could tell. And her inbox would be full of e-mails from animal sanctuaries and wildlife organizations asking for money to support their noble efforts. She would give them all the money they needed if she had it but a part of her wondered if money could ever really be the answer when it seemed like the need and greed for money caused so many of our problems to begin with.
Not that she knew what the answer was. All she had was questions.
She left her phone and laptop where they were and quickly got dressed for a walk on the beach. It was nearly deserted this time of year, giving her the peace that she needed to think. No penguins or polar bears or panthers appeared to join her, though she did pass a jogger and his dog and returned the smiles they both gave her.
Did the jogger know about the endangered penguins? Would it have ruined his day if she’d stopped him to tell him about the last two northern white rhinos, or how poverty and corruption are linked to poaching endangered animals like elephants, or that American Indian tribes are asking our politicians to enact emergency protections for gray wolves? Would he have assumed she was just someone from an organization that was going to ask him for money? Would he welcome a conversation with a concerned fellow citizen who just wanted to share the burden of knowing these things; that just wanted other people to stop striving, competing and arguing long enough to listen to and learn from the message that these animals are telling us about our planet and ourselves?
As she asked these questions to herself she found herself itching to get back to her laptop again, not because of some habitual impulse this time, but because her imagination was calling to her.
She didn’t have vast amounts of money to donate to causes or enough nerve to stop people on the beach or out in the street and start a conversation about the things that concerned her. But what she did have were her dreams and her questions, and her love and compassion for the animals. That and a little inspiration from Lewis Carroll and the 19th Century Alice were all she needed to tell the story in her heart; the story of Alice and the animals and us.
This story concludes Alice and the Animals as well as The Wonderland Campaign series. I would like to thank our Alice, Kerri, for contributing her time and considerable talent to us for the last 16 months and for the magical combination of information, inspiration and imagination she provided us with her stories of Alice’s adventures in Lewis Carrol’s wonderland, our own wonderland, and the wonderland of a world that works for all that she helped us envision. Her readers, myself included, are forever enchanted by and grateful for her efforts.
If you missed any posts from the series or just want to revisit your favorites, you will still be able to find them all through The Wonderland Campaign landing page. The Wonderland Campaign Twitter account will also remain active for now.
Thank you for joining us on this adventure.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.