Nacht und Träume

Being blessed with a sometimes over-active imagination can at times be a burden.  Those imaginings that we all have from time to time, the awake dreams that we construct, perhaps of the things that we’d most like in life, though they be slightly out of reach in reality.  It’s sometimes the sleeping dreams that I could well leave behind…sometimes.

There was a picture on my bedroom wall.  It was directly in front of me, and if I lay on my back, slightly propped up with pillows, eyes suitably adjusted to the dark, I would imagine this picture as being my home.  The oil was a depiction of farm life, within the confines of the farmyard, complete with barn and enclosing fence, well and water troughs, were people, chickens, geese, pigs, goats, doves, a cow and some horses.  There were dogs too, fixed in a friendly and playful stance at the feet of the farmer.

The farmhouse, in my imagining as I stared, had little pragmatic attraction – the practicalities mattered not a jot to me; but it was stuffed full of warm and comfortable aesthetic value.  The roof, an aging mound of soft thatch, and the walls, whitewashed, however, browned with weathering and age – coloured too by  countless retreating, warm evening sunsets – winter did not exist here.  I imagined myself sat atop a small fence, close to the scene, taking in not one hint of a typical farm odour but the sweet, comforting aroma of hot farm milk and freshly baking bread.  I was listening to the occasional, half-hearted whinny from a horse, a rooting sniff from a pig, the clucking of busy chickens and strained song of not so near swallows and swifts.  The farmhouse, was part swathed by age-old trees, the leaves of which brushed softly the grateful thatch of the roof, and with each passing, gentle and warm blow of breeze, tree and roof could almost be heard to sigh in gratuitous pleasure…

I would lay and stare at this picture for as long as I could stave off sleep.  Sometimes struggling to keep my eyelids from closing, though from time to time losing the fight, and almost drifting off.  It was my intention to be in that picture before­ sleep closed its sometime not so subtle arms about me…  There were times when I couldn’t determine when exactly the transition from being awake to being asleep occurred, however, if I looked long enough into this picture, staring straight ahead and stubbornly ignoring the very last tad of peripheral vision, I could be there.  Now and then, the feeling intensified and the scene before me would unfix itself, slowly…

Very slowly would the scene deepen and surround me – the periphery of vision would no longer be a struggle.  Everywhere I turned to look, an enveloping wrap of utopian-like scenery, sensations of evening summer warmth and a plethora of sweet smells advanced and pressed my senses, showing no mercy!  I would tease those playful dogs, dragging sticks through dry yard mud, occasionally my stick was clenched and tugged, and would have to let go and watch the dog tease me in return – running as I thrust out a hand to grab back the gnarly baton!  The farmer, his clothes, worn at their extremities, with sleeves rolled up to the elbows, would lift me in greeting and spin me ’round and ’round – no safer feeling than to be in the tight, comfortable grip of his well-worked hands and supported by strong, muscular forearms.  I’d run next, to the welcoming farmer’s wife, she, bounding toward me too, drying off her hands on her apron.  A stock-framed mother-figure if ever there was one, with a smile, bright and broad.  She’d smell of lavender and sweet bread, pull me close, nestle me motherly in an ample, comforting bosom, stroke the hair from my face before placing a most loving kiss to my forehead…

Back in my own bed and still staring, I could make those figures move; the livestock and the trees.  There was no sign of the farmer and his wife.  The sky would blacken.  The trees would take on a not so comforting stroke but a whipping and lashing reach that would leave the now coarse and rough thatched roof bruised and ragged.  In the sunless, stifling darkness, the windows of the wretched, battered and derelict farmhouse, took on the look of intent malevolence – wishing ill-will on me; the door, a gaping, miserable but hungry mouth, waiting to bite down, chew ferociously and swallow intently – injurious and inclined to destroy my happiness.  The dogs barked and snarled, showing razor-sharp teeth, snapping at passing fowl  that were growing monstrously in their own right.  Horses rearing with anger and thudding the ground with distemper!  The wind would whip and help sheets of rain lash my face.  Mud below me thickened, and held my feet as I fought to run with terrified determination to be anywhere but in that picture…

It was usually at that point that I would wake, sobbing, terrified, lonely and insecure.  The farmer and his wife could have turned those feelings around, however, they were never there when my eyes opened – I often think about them to this day.  I still see them at times as though they had been real.  And sometimes I long to feel those strong hands swinging me playfully and that warm kiss on my brow…

One day, and being brave enough to share this with mum, the picture was removed from my wall and never seen again.  Oddly enough, I missed it.


About Robert

A fifty-something, retired Celestial Travel Agent. Walked many paths; some good, lots bad. Meandering through the past, plodding in the present, crawling toward the future.
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