Of course this could be Heaven. Though I am loath to admit it, on certain nights, even I entertain a fleeting wonder of it. But, only on nights when the sky is tinted a magnificent shade of blue that you can only find at midnight on certain nights. The moon hangs like a slightly tilted picture on some forgotten wall and the stars are interactive wallpaper designed for small children's amusement and hopeless romantics' perpetual enjoyment. The clouds are heavy and silent, immobile, imitations of Van Gogh's oil paintings. All you can hear is the countryside. There is no traffic to keep you up at night, no headlights flashing across your ceiling, and no gunshots and shouts to stir you from your pretty dreams. You'd only need to worry about the peaceful sounds of peepers, crickets, and the occasional bullfrog. In the summer, when these certain nights usually occur, there are always fireflies. Thousands of them flitting around just waiting to be caught and there's no better place to see them than across a field with no interruptions to speak of. And, in my case, you've got the looming shadow of a mountain right in your backyard. Few electrical lights liter the face of it, so it doesn't ruin the rustic beauty of this Heaven. On these certain nights, also, the air is just the way I love it, personally. It's just crisp and dewy enough to keep you chilled, but warm enough that you won't need a jacket. These certain nights are the kind to sight a falling star and make wishes.



There is even much to be said about the daylight in this Heaven. It's a safe place, full of suburbia and sprawling backyards; it's simply a perfect place to start a family. It's the typical location for a nice white house with a picket fence. Flowers, wild and otherwise, are abundant in this still very natural environment. Often, this Heaven will provide you with a glimpse of a deer, moose, or any number of wildlife. More than likely, you'll have gracious neighbors that will help you out when need be. They could mow your lawn when your machine isn't in working order; watch your young child when you have a commitment you can't slip away from, or any friendly endeavor within reason.



This wondrous place could be deserving of its nickname "Kingdom County," but it's a sweet deception and part of its hellish torture.



Despite it's obvious ravishing splendor, there's little to do, especially for the younger generations. Often, this inactivity leads to drug and alcohol abuse, which is surprisingly rampant. Children still attending elementary schools in our "Kingdom County" are already well acquainted with substances and I find it such a horrible waste. Having succumbed to the boredom myself, I speak with experience at what squandered potential has been left behind: our giggling, manic future generations. How depressing it is to see what could be, what should be, left to amber in bottles, fake Ids, a rainbow of pills and curvy, smooth pipes. Our upcoming leaders can be found in the flare of a stolen lighter, in the backseat of a parent's borrowed car, stopped in a high school's parking lot, full of smoke and escape. It's even too much for me to bear.



And, please, don't let the beauteous suburban tranquility fool you, for we are just as horrid as any city. Behind our locked front doors and curtained picture windows, woman and children are still abused, raped, left to silence and shame. Hidden by our smiling faces and reassuring platitudes, prejudice reigns. Seekers of civil unions are pelted with any handy object or hurtful word and how rare it is to find many other than Caucasian in this perfect mock of Heaven. Even our drug-addicted children take part in such cruelty when they should be innocent and unsullied. They ridicule, snicker, and disparage, and we just assume that perhaps that's the way of children since it's a circle that's yet to be broken.



I can even see the evil of the winter, when the countryside turns into nothing more than an empty coloring book. The biting cold brings nothing but aching death with its temperatures. The trees are bare and lifeless, the ground nothing but desecrated white slush, and what fun the snow could bring is surely disintegrated within the looming threat of frostbite. For more than half a year, this Heaven is covered in constricting snow and bitter, colorless freeze. Its true colors, or lack thereof, are exposed in these months of lifelessness.



However, the most painful part of surviving this Hell, for that's what it truly is, is the façade that returns every summer. The wonderful certain nights deceive so easily any that fall upon its obvious grandeur. It's so easy to forget what it hides in sweatshirt pockets and closed minds when you've got such finery to discover every night. That is the worst part of this Hell. It masquerades so easily as a Heaven fit for anyone. Myself, I'd much prefer a Hell that was honest about its filth and degradation. Ignorance isn't bliss, especially when this sweet façade can be as easily shattered as a mirror wishing seven years of bad luck.