Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sophie's Journal Part 3

I did not go upstairs in my dream, so I cannot give an account of the second floor. Animal sounds beckoned me outside. I walked towards the barn and adjoining paddock. Inside the paddock, five goats watched me with their vertical pupils and whitened goatees. Chickens scurried around the yard pecking at invisible insects. I walked through the front door of the barn and was surprised by the implements. These were not the machinery of the twenty-first century. The plow was a simple implement that would have been pulled by a horse. Alongside a rake-like instrument stood with like a giant hair comb with a bridle waiting for an animal to power. The air was heavy with the scent of hay and animal. A low moan from the rear of the barn revealed a large draft horse in a stall. I walked through the back door of the barn to find a coop surrounded by a cube of fencing where the chickens would spend their nights in safety. Another small building lay beyond the coop. The smell from inside and the hooks hanging from the rafters helped me to decide this building was used for smoking meats. To the right of the smokehouse a stone building straddled the small creek that ran from the pond out front, but it was the building on the left that drew me further. It was another house.

This house was smaller that than the great house, but still boasted two stories and a nice porch which wrapped around the outside. It was painted a muted red and scrolled gingerbread hung from the roofline and the windows. A lone rocking chair sat next to the door which I found unlocked, so I entered. The front room was a small sitting room with a couch, a few chairs, tables and a writing desk in the corner. The furniture had been placed in alignment with the fireplace as though to gather an advantage to the heat emitted by future fires. The next room was a kitchen, but without modern accoutrements. A fireplace, an iron stove and a sink with a hand pump were all the appliances afforded in this space. The rest of the slate floor was occupied by various cabinets, tables, chairs and counters. For a kitchen, the space was large and the many windows provided ample light, but there was no electricity as evidenced by kerosene lamps hanging from the rafters waiting for a lit match when dusk approached. I walked to the back door of the kitchen and found a primitive room with bare wood walls and various herbs and flower hung to dry. A washstand, wash tub and water pump stood by so I named this room the washhouse. A door led to the back porch and I was surprised to see an old butter churn standing next to a cane chair. Beyond the porch a well-tended kitchen garden delighted my nose with the smell of basil and rosemary. Corn stalks supported the pole beans and squash ringed each grouping. I had heard of this type of planting - utilized by Native Americans and taught to the colonial people centuries before. The corn stalks support the beans without staking and the squash vines cover the surrounding ground for weed reduction and water retention. Realizing that I was dreaming, I wondered whether I had moved from the present – the house with the solar panels, modern kitchen and computer – to the past. It was not so.

My last dream of this place convinced me that both houses – the new and old – occupied the same space of time, and I feared that space of time was the future. In my last dream, I moved from the red house and its kitchen garden up the hill. I could see that an orchard had been planted there. Apples and peaches hung heavy from some of the trees while other trees appeared to have nuts peeking from under their leaves. I walked to the crest of the hill and reached to pick a fully ripened apple from a tree when I heard a loud noise behind me. Frightened by the sound, I jumped and dropped my apple. It was curious, but I did not turn towards the sound, but stooped to pick up my apple from the ground. I rose and looked at the apple with sadness as though something precious was about to end. I knew if I looked behind me, there was no turning back. Whatever was behind me was no friend; no ease. So, I continued to study the rosy skin of the apple dappled with tiny yellow spots. I brought the apple to my nose to savor the pungent fragrance and to feel its warm surface against my lips. I wanted to bite into the apple and savor the juice running down my hand. But I didn’t. I knew the sight behind me would only cause me to regurgitate whatever was in my stomach, so I let the apple fall, and I turned around towards the south. I sighed and tears came to my eyes. It had begun for I saw the gray cloud rising and even at this distance; I could feel its hot wind on my face.