Dream Story: The Groundskeeper


In my dream, I live at the end of a long lane.  It is a modest house.  Made of stone and beams, not quite straight.  The curves and sags are filled with stories that only time can give.

The road is a broad dirt track which stretches up the hill, meandering slightly here and there, without ever being anything but straight before disappearing in a slight bend, into the trees, and over the crest.  In the rain the water never pools as the road is packed and worn from the passage of time, and its smooth, hard surface is pocked with small stones.  There is a grassy ditch to either side where the water can run.

I have a little garden in front of the house, and a dry stone wall that must now be getting well on 300 years or so.  I call this little patch of ground a paradise, for it is.  You see, Mistress does not like cut flowers, but does appreciate a shower of beauty and colour.  So, I pour my heart into the earth, my tears, my sweat, my love, and devotion so that it may spring forth in a constant stream of vibrant life.  As on this side of the road, so too on the other, I have created an ever-changing living bouquet, a tribute to Her, so that when she passes by as she sallies forth or is returning home, she has this glimpse of joy and love at the foot of her domain.

Indeed.  I am her groundsman, a gatekeeper, a caretaker.  I pass my days walking the perimeter of her estate.  Repairing the old stone walls.  Clearing fallen trees.  Chopping firewood for the wood pile and delivering it, laying it neatly, so that she may have a nice fire in her hearth all winter long.

There are also paths through the forest, and I walk these from time to time to make sure they are clear and passable, as she is fond of going for walks.  On some very rare and special occasions, Mistress requests my assistance in her personal garden, where she grows food for her family.  She is very personal about the care she gives to the food she uses to nourish those in her home, and I tremble when I think of the honour she bestows on me enlisting my help in preparing the beds or doing various chores under her watchful eye and careful direction.  

The level of thoughtfulness that goes into her garden speaks of a knowledge and communion with the spirit world that is greater than me.  To feel the pull of gravity, to know the cycle of the moon, to know exactly when it is time to harvest or to plant, this requires a special kind of sight and hearing.  This is a language that Mistress speaks which I do not.  She translates for me by giving me instructions.  And though I follow these instructions to the letter, and take joy in doing so whenever they are given, it is a language that I will never learn, for it belongs to her.  It is enough that she shows it to me through her guidance.

In my own garden, I do not speak or think, I simply feel, and there is a joyful chaos that results, a riot of colour and self-expression.

There is a broad meadow that lines this part of the road before the estate turns to forest.  In late summer the tall grass turns from green to the colour of toast and smells fresh and dry.  It rustles slightly in the breeze.

And while all around us there is seeming silence, in truth if you listen there are the sounds of nature…and on a perfect day, voices of joy, laughter and happiness drift through the trees and across the fields and find their way to my ears, filling my heart with tender loving devotion.  

Every now and again she will stop in for a cup of tea.  She is always growing things with mystical powers, things I have not heard of, or tasted before, and which she enjoys sharing.  A pleasure shared is a pleasure multiplied.  

This is a world whose existence is conjured by Mistress.  A dreamscape of happiness where my heart has gone to live.

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