It is the face of our own shadow that glowers at us across the Iron Curtain.

12 Apr

I’m running.

My feet seem winged as the ground moves underneath, springy and moist. Except it’s not-the concrete something I pound as I move, my feet solid and strong. I chase a phantom, a mist that prances before me, turns occasionally to meet my eyes and encourage me on.

My lungs do not hurt, nor my knees. The wind purrs through my hair as my body, exultant, sings with each step. I feel each muscle as a part of the whole, a chain of events one on top of the other. My body is a machine, well oiled and proud.

My path leads upside a building, and I pause at the top, unsure I can make it over. That which I chase silently chides me for doubt, and waits patiently for me to find it within myself to heave my feathery body over the top. I stare ahead as he runs inside, the feel my legs leap to life to follow.

My body is nothing more than water in this place.


I dream of houses. Not often. But when things change, out comes a home and I become lost in it.

Often it has been abandoned, rickety and dangerous. Holes in the wood floors in empty, musty rooms. Dank tapestries covering walls, stairways which were dark and ominous. Occasionally it would be cluttered and claustrophobic, the detritus of life a trap and a myth, colors that would riot. Sometimes I could wander the place, others, I’d be trapped within rooms. A dilapidated mansion once, the colors muted and watered out, the entire building a sad weeping shell of itself. I became trapped in the basement, next to a festering pool with flashlights which could barely cut through the gloom. Something…hunted me then, in that house, and the exits all led to walls.

But I ran to something different. This house was not underground, nor dank, nor rickety. It was clean. It was above the ground, lit from the inside. Cluttered yes, and full of random pieces of lives-the stacked mess of babyhood in the corned of one floor, the slowly clearing kitchen. Furniture, clear windows which looked out onto a city at night. A house I stood in and whispered “whoa” to.

A clear mind. A new clean home.

My shadow had long since disappeared as I stared around, in awe. It was my place. I belonged there. I was home.


Years ago, after a particularly vivid dream where I seemed to be living as a hobbit, I read up on house dreams, and stumbled across Jung. (Hey, I was 12. I did stumble across it.) I was intrigued by the idea that the house dream can be a reflection of our psyche, our self. There was always someone else in those dreams with me, a shadow sometimes, something I would at other times consider myself, or pieces of me, pieces of past and future. The chase dreams started about then, the constant necessity to run, to prevent harm. I would inevitably end up cornered or dead, and could argue with others that dying in a dream does not mean you actually die. I would have been dead many times over.

The house dreams always came when I was becoming. When something was changing, when I began accepting and working with who I was, they would appear, almost like clockwork. Sometimes reassuring that I was on the right track, other times a disturbing reminder that something was terribly, horribly wrong. Our own viewpoint of our minds, of ourself, should never, ever be dank, dark and black, rotted to the core and echoing.

But for so long, it really was.

But then I sat in that dream, after running for miles and feeling I was flying, after feeling my body work itself, staring at this place, this cluttered but new and vibrant. Dark, but changing. Alive. Vividly alive with the pieces of my life.

The times, they are changing.

6 Responses to “It is the face of our own shadow that glowers at us across the Iron Curtain.”

  1. Hannah April 12, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    What a wonderful post to welcome my still-blurry eyes back to the internets.

  2. Natalie April 12, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    …..”always came when I was becoming”….brilliant.


  3. Marcy April 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    Interesting. I’ll have to pay more attention to houses in my dreams.

  4. ifbyyes April 12, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

    I dream about houses too… rooms upon rooms upon rooms. Sometimes the rooms are luxurious beyond compare, and I roam from one to the next, ever-eager for more discoveries.

    Other times I am in the attic or the basement, exploring through cobwebs and dusty wooden rafters…

  5. Cheeky Monkey April 13, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Such a tidy metaphor, the house. I’m glad to hear that yours is getting cleaned up.

    I dream about airplane disasters. I’m in these airplanes and suddenly they plummet to earth or disappear all together, leaving me and my seat flying through the air. I’ve never had anyone satisfactorily explain this to me, my repetitive crashing nightmares. And that’s okay. Dreams are fascinating just as they are. Maybe we shouldn’t try to explain them too much.

  6. flutter April 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    You are phenomenal.

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