At the entrance of a Virtual Reality Dome, a sort of man-made universe in a biosphere, the blissful scene of an ocean sunset calls to me – as if to say “come and have a look.” I creep inside, barefoot and bewildered, trying to decipher what’s real and what’s fake. I know this ‘dome’ is no larger than a house, but from inside here I can see that this is a whole new experience. The horizon is endless in all directions making me wonder if it’s possible to become lost. There’s a brightness, a sort of joyful glow that fills the space.
Hanging low like a single light bulb, the sun, along with its posse of soft pink clouds, basks in its own reflection over the water. I move forward slowly, squishing the spongy earth between my toes with each step as the ground sweeps out in front of me, and breaks off at the edge of a cliff. Without hesitation, my knees bend like a frog, enabling me to pet the fluffy seaweed-like grass with my hands. I’m comforted and relieved that something is real. This is the perfect spot to have a seat and rest for a moment while I take in the shoreline view.
From the salty smell to the sounds of waves breaking and crashing into one another, I’m carried away by the tranquil paradise and begin to meditate on the whispering breeze. The beach is spectacular, although I can’t help but remind myself that my senses are deceiving me.
After a brief moment of complete relaxation, I catch a glimpse of something quite puzzling – something peculiar about the ocean. I’ve seen this wave before! My eyes squint as I examine the wave pattern closely, and determine that each wave is programmed in a loop that replays over and over. Of course! I must have been so lost in the moment that I forgot these waves are constructed by someone behind a computer screen. Well, virtual waves may not be as infinite and unique as waking-life ones, but this will do for now. I’m at peace.