It’s not a Real Place (I Think)

Beyond the Beach: Playing in Georgia's Salt Marshes | Coastal ...

I was chatting yesterday with our esteemed colleague, Jan-o, who publishes ghost stories on her blog ( She outdid herself yesterday with a collection of stories about places people visited, but which later turned out not to exist. Like, they’d been there, but there was no there anymore. Most distressing.

There is a place I sometimes dream of. I can easily prove it doesn’t exist, but the dreams are very consistent. I could draw a map of it. Let me try to describe it to you.

At the north end of Main Street in our town is a golf course: the street simply stops in front of it, separated from the landscape by a guard rail.

In the dream there is no golf course, just woodlands, most of it sloping downhill. To the left of the guardrail is a narrow path that will take you down the hill: all the way down to a railroad cut with high banks and streams on either side of the tracks.

If you follow the tracks, the high banks of the cut gradually give way to a flat marshland of dazzling beauty. It extends in every direction as far as the eye can see. Here and there are artifacts of the old days of the railroad: broken-down sheds, broken-down flatcars, stuff like that. And occasionally a slow train comes through, and they will stop for you if you want to get aboard and ride.

In one dream I went down there to catch turtles and found–of all people!–Father Brown (complete with priest’s cassock and umbrella) doing the same. We had a nice chat about turtles until his bishop came along and shooed him back to work. Funny place to run into a bishop.

This country is the same whenever I dream of it. I know what to expect. I like it.

I reason that somehow my mind has put it together out of bits and pieces collected from the real world and assembled into a new pattern. I can tell you where I’ve seen old grey freight cars stuck out in the middle of an expanse of knee-high yellow grass. And our town has an old railroad cut with high banks on either side: used to go down there to catch polliwogs. My dreamscape seems to have been cobbled together out of these familiar elements.

Great cobbling job, though. You’d swear it was real.

How about it? Anybody else out there–do you have dreams like these? Inquiring minds want to know.

17 comments on “It’s not a Real Place (I Think)

    1. There’s another dreamscape I visit now and then: a non-existent arm of Raritan Bay that reaches up into our neighborhood. I’ve had a lot of nice fishing and boating there.

  1. Awesome recurring dreamscapes! The “sloping downhill” one is similar to one of mine. I’m on a train ride on high tracks on my way to my grandparents’ house. The scenery on the right is full of yellow Rose of Sharon flowers, trees,and small groups of people doing all manner of interesting things, no person standing alone, and it’s so exciting, beautiful, and comforting. On the left is a sharply sloped, long hill made of dry red clay. After awhile the lovely scene on the left disappears and I can no longer see what’s there and realize i’m on the wrong train. Suddenly I must get off but the slope begins within inches of the track. So I slide onto the hill and continue sliding down. Suddenly the clay becomes wet and muddy but there’s nowhere to get off. I hate the wet mud but am glad i’m still safe. The hill ends right in front of a calm ocean with lots of ships on it and plenty of sun, but I can go no further. Then I wake up.

    I have another dreamscape that takes place underground, again in a train but with no tracks under it at all. This one started just after I gave my life to Jesus and lasted only a few years, but occasionally I still think about it.

    As a child, I frequently went train watching.

    1. Yes indeed. But I’d rather have your writing skills in common. Maybe they’re in a dreamscape. Maybe I locked them there – lol. Oh well, as Tevye sang: “If I were a rich man. Ya ba dibba dibba dibba dibba dum. All day long I’d biddy biddy bum. If I were a wealthy wo-man.” Think I’ll do some biddy biddy bum today.

  2. A recurring theme that appears in several dreams: I’m in a building that in my wakeful state would be unrecognizable but in the dream it’s a comfortable and familiar place, like a house I’ve grown up in. If in my dream I want something, I go directly to the place where it’s at. When I awaken from the dream, I try to place the building where I was in my dream but as I mentioned before, it’s very familiar-feeling but completely unrecognizable.

  3. Yesterday I went to Old Fashion Foods and their parking lot has finally been fixed, no more potholes all over the place. And a sloping cement entrance had been put in place. Then last night I dreamed the sidewalks around the White House had been made like that of Old Fashion Foods. And today is Donald J. Trump’s birthday.

    1. I wish I had lovely dreams like this! Mine always seem to end up being a place to process all the stresses from my day. That or I can’t remember my dreams by the time I wake up. What I wouldn’t give to have a place like yours where I could refresh my spirit a little in my sleep and get away from my stress instead of rehashing it! I have to imagine such places with my waking imagination.

  4. Yes, thank GOD for Donald Trump. My husband and I prayed a bunch for him today.

    1. I have been too. I worry about his health and well-being at times. He has been under constant attack and unimaginable pressure for the last four years. He’s not even taking his salary for this job! (None of the dems or media hassling him would do that.) I’m surprised Trump even wants to be re-elected and go through another 4 years if this hell, but I’m glad for America’s sake that he does. God help this country if he loses.

    2. He’s doing it because he knows we need him: he’s the only leader who’s on our side. He stands between us and the destruction of our republic. And he mostly stands alone. May the Lord our God stand with him.

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