I was chatting yesterday with our esteemed colleague, Jan-o, who publishes ghost stories on her blog (bookemjanoblog.wordpress.com). 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.