sweet dreams

The other night, I was so tired, and I was in bed at a reasonable hour, cozy, ready to drift right away... and then I started to think about a nightmare that I had as a child. And, after all these years, it still creeped me out mightily.

There wasn't even much to the dream - not much action, no gore or sudden scares. I was walking on a very bright, sunny summer day, and I came upon a house with a gigantic pine tree in the front yard. The area under the tree was large and cave-like, and the sunlight was so starkly bright that I was blinded when I went under the tree. There was an antique porcelain doll leaning against the tree trunk.

I suddenly started having flashes of terror and dread, a murdered girl, a ghost under the tree. It was like the entire world was haunted; I couldn't move from the darkness under the tree. I didn't know what the ghost could actually do to me, but it wasn't even a question of that - I was paralyzed with fear, and I wasn't even clear on whether the fear was actually mine or not. Maybe I was the one who was haunted.

Then I woke up.

And that's the whole dream. And it has stuck with me for over 25 years. To this day, I feel uneasy in the noonday sun, when there aren't deciduous trees around for "regular" tree shade. I feel uneasy when I see pine trees with little, dark "caves" underneath them, where grass doesn't grow.

Don't even get me started on porcelain dolls.


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