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Around The Sun: The Dream

Steve Harrison tells of a dream that has haunted him for years.

Either this life is very dream like
or this dream is very lifelike Ashley Brilliant.

I remember when I first had the dream. At the time I was working in an architect's office, formerly a mansion built for someone who had amassed a fortune from industry. The building was now in a state of decay.

I dreamed that I was living in a similar mansion. Some people dream of luxury. The mansion in my dream was decrepit. I surreptitiously entered through a doorway that had been boarded up. The windows were shuttered. Tiny pinpoints of daylight pierced the gloom. A staircase led towards the crumbling upper floors. The interior was dank, covered with dust and spiders' webs. A setting for a ghost story, or for nesting birds. The sort of place that would force you to whisper to some blonde girl "No, please don't go in there!''

High up in this building, tucked away between the ceiling and the roof, I had a secure dwelling place, a little haven. The building was in a tumble-down condition, yet my dwelling was secure and impenetrable. This home wasn't much to look at inside, but it represented my independence. It was literally my castle in the air.

I remember feeling anxious when I climbed the stairs towards it. Some unknown threat seemed to be creeping along behind me. Then...relief when I entered my private domain. Feelings of restfulness and peace would overwhelm me.

When I reflect on this dream it troubles me to realise that it probably symbolised my feelings of insecurity, my inability to deal with the realities of life. In my late teens the dream came to me with a frequency which was both frightening and comforting. When I awoke in my own bed I would find myself longing to be in my own secure place in that ravaged house.

As the years went by that house became even more decrepit and unstable. Stair treads were loose. Some of them were missing as I ascended to my lofty nest. It became more and more challenging to reach it. Sometimes on my way to the attic I seemed to be passing through a library. Things seemed to be trying to distract me or delay my progress. Sometimes I seemed to be running through a hall of mirrors. My secure dwelling became harder to find. The staircase took unexpected twists and turns. Doorways which had not been there before seemed to be trying to lure me into darkness.

Even at this stage in my life the dream sometimes comes back to me. I am stumbling along, trying to find my sanctuary, to immerse myelf in security.

I think it represents the warmth of longing, and the coldness of loss.


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