So it was more than a year ago that the dreams started. The beginning was pastoral– even pleasant. Each time I dreamed more was revealed. The dream always began with a gated lane. The packed sand and gravel of the lane were rutted with tire marks. Trees and undergrowth implied that the lane had been carved through the woods rather than carefully landscaped. The gate was set back from the road and might have been missed if you did not know where it stood. There were no markings, no mailbox to indicate the narrow driveway. In my dream, I walked up to the gate and found it locked. Intrigued by what lay beyond the gate and disappointed that I may not gain access to the sandy lane, I flung my arms to my sides. It was this action that revealed a bulk in the side pocket of my coveralls. I put my hand into my pocket and retrieved a large skeleton key - the kind used decades before my time. The key must have been composed of copper or brass for verdigris covered the ornate carvings. I tried the key in the lock of the gate. It was a perfect fit, and the gate opened easily. This ended my first night of dreaming.
Subsequent nights revealed more of the dream, but not to bore you with timelines, dear Reader, I will just continue with my description of the dream without interruption, but know that this dream was sewn over many months like a patchwork quilt during its construction.
After opening the gate, I walked through the vegetation on the sandy lane. I noticed flowers, wild onions, skunk cabbage, jewel weed and other native plants growing beneath the canopy of trees and bushes. It must have been late spring for the mountain laurel was blooming and its smell was sweet. I continued to walk forward as I could see a bright light towards the end of the lane. Anxious to see what lay beyond I hurried my steps, and was rewarded. The lane opened up to vast meadow. A small group of sheep were grazing on the grass before me. To my left I saw a sizable pond with sunshine glistening on its rippling surface. The farther side of the pond banked up to a rolling hill. At the top of the hill I saw a roof along with the partial second floor of a white house. Curious, I continued to walk the lane towards the house. More of the house was revealed as I walked closer.
The portion of the house facing the pond appeared to be a porch or sunroom as long windows dominated the entire expanse. The lane wound around the rising hill and I could see the side of the house had many windows on the first floor and a sleeping porch – a porch with no stairs – on the second floor. I could see that the sandy lane continued around to the far side and what I assumed was the front door, for no door had yet revealed itself. To my right I noticed barns and other outbuildings further a field that had not been visible due to the rise of the hill. The smell of hay and manure wafted, but I continued my path to the front of the house.
The door was set back on an open porch that wrapped around the far side of the house. Painted sage green, the door carried a brass knocker engraved with the words Rosemary Hill. I knocked. There was no answer. I tried the doorknob, but it was locked. I was dismayed. Then that I remembered the gate key still in my hand. Of course this key was too big for the door lock. A quick check of my other pockets revealed a smaller key in the breast pocket of my coveralls. This key fit and the door swung open.
The foyer was long, extending towards the back of the house beyond my sight. It was wide, light and airy due to the large windows over the front door. The ceiling of the foyer extended from the first floor to the second floor. A door to my left was closed and a stairway led upstairs to a balcony. To my right I could see into a formal living room tastefully appointed. Further into the foyer was a sofa table against the wall with a vase of pretty field flowers. As I walked on the slate floor to the sofa table, I noticed a door under the staircase to my left. Always curious, I tried the knob and the door swung open. A peak revealed stairs leading down to darkness. I assumed this must be the cellar. I closed the door and continued further into the foyer. I had been right, there was a sunroom. The foyer lead to the most beautiful sunroom full of potted plants. The sound of trickling water made me turn around. A small indoor fountain surrounded by more plantings trickled soothingly and the outside pond, sheep and woodland provided a beautiful view from the sunroom windows. The middle of the room was occupied by a large white table surrounded by so many chairs; I did not stop to count them. The only solid wall in the room centered a beautiful fireplace and hearth with sentinel bookcases at each side.
I moved to the next room; the kitchen. It was cook’s dream with double ovens, a brick bread oven, center island stove and a large side by side refrigerator. From the kitchen, I could see a smaller enclosed porch that must have served as a small greenhouse. Herbs grew on shelves hung between the window frames and the inside wall was covered with shelves supporting bottles of dried herbs. Hyssop, rosemary, lavender and sweet cicely had been dried and labeled in tightly sealed blue jars.
I wound my way back to the kitchen and came upon another room.
I realized this must be the room that opened to that door on the left as I came in the front door. It was a library, or perhaps a study. There were floor to ceiling books on most of the walls. A large desk was positioned between the front corner of the room allowing whoever sat there easy viewing of the sandy lane and the barnyard. A laptop was opened on the desk. Another long desk cornered the opposite wall with a CB or a ham radio on its top. A microphone stood there as well.