I sat on the stoop, knees bent, with elbows placed precisely so I could rest the weight of head on my hands. It was quiet. I looked towards the two-lane road, rarely used these days, and noticed the large trees sitting with limbs bent and nearly touching the ground. It had been a while since anyone had manicured the yard. The trees stood almost as tall as the old two-story home. It was rather a forest of birds and grass, and plants gone wild, and growing together. It was quiet and beautiful.
I looked directly in front of me, across the way. My neighbor was standing, with her easel in front and brush in hand. I had always admired her talent as an artist, whether it be painting, etching, knitting, or decorating her home. It was never “to not to be touch” decor – it was comfort first. I was reminded of a large old cabin in the woods. Soft pillows were strewn around and with candles and a light fragrance of incense filling the room, one always felt welcomed.
I said, Good morning, and she smiled and waved. We had lived next door to each other for many years in these big two story wooden homes. Yet we spent little time together. I remember a few times specifically. Her husband and girls always remained a family and I was glad, but I could feel a touch of envy, as my life hadn’t been so calm and solid.
The girls came out the front door ready to leave for some adventure for the day. They weren’t girls anymore. They were young women. I greeted them and warm smiles were directed my way. I noticed my neighbor’s painting was much larger than usual – and the subject was a city. I remembered cities vaguely.
I rose and stretched and waved good-by and opened the front door to go in a do something – I’ve forgotten just what right now – but I know it included coffee. The bells on the door tinkled and I decided to leave it open to bring the fragrance of the trees to me.
Both home stood as large monuments to past days. Fireplaces, larges kitchens to gather in, and often the smell of something homemade sitting on the windowsill to cool. Her home welcomed large groups of friends quite often. I could sit near the window in the bedroom upstairs and watch as the children ran the circumference of the front porch past the narrow walkway to the large deck in the back. Most gatherings filled her home. If I scanned from front to back, there were people sitting in rocking chairs quietly visiting in front. With windows open the sound of the music flowed out and up, and was usually a pleasant instrumental that was contusive of relaxing…as I looked at the large back porch the children laughed and played jacks, and the adults were, drink in hand, talking and perhaps partaking of a fine selection of weed.
But there was never discord among the quests. Below the deck as you stepped toward the forest that surrounded us, she had grown a vegetable garden that produced large plump tomatoes, string beans, and pumpkins. She rotated her crops and was had quite the green thumb. I loved having the family next door. Her husband was usually there, and was quiet, but he partnered her in her creativity, and was friendly and welcoming.
What amazes me is that after the years I never even knew the name of one person that lived in the home. I liked them all. I felt she and I could have been friends. Names didn’t seem to matter. What mattered was the heart of the home, and because of the heart of the home I was glad they lived near.
I quite of the house rather startled me initially. With no one there and little furniture, my footsteps almost echoed throughout. I’d left a warm fire crackling in the fireplace, and it reminded me that because of the immense size of it, I never used any other source to heat.
The embers of the fire at the end of the evening drifted upward and the bedrooms were just warm enough to feel comfortable when I slipped under my down comforter. By the time the sun finally set behind the view of the trees of the forest, I always looked forward to the night.
It was a time to pray and a time to sleep and regenerate. A time to dream.
That night I found myself in the same dream I’d had so many times before. It was specific. So many familiar characters and places. I don’t know how many times I’d had this dream before, but a part of me did not want to wake up.
I felt the wet nose of the puppy pressing against mine, and I curled up and moved away from the side of the bed. I wasn’t ready to awake. Again the persistent puppy tried to arouse me. This time I felt a wet tongue touch my lips. That did it. I awoke and knew it was time to get a cup of coffee. I looked at the clock. It was later than I had expected.
I stretched and then realized even the pretending to be asleep to dream was actually a dream. I dreamed I had to get up from my dream, when I was actually just dreaming. I had to actually wake up to get up. Is that a dream in a dream?
This brief part of my dream is that – only a brief representation of part of my recurring dream. No worries, if it interested you I recall all of it, to this point, as if it were my simultaneous life. For now it is time for coffee.