Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish imaginings from memories. I’m glad of this. It pleases me that I don’t know whether a strongly felt recollection is only a blip of the brain that never happened.
In a variation of a recurring dream, I’d traveled so far up Route 20 that I’d found where it ended in one or more trails leading into the woods. Down one trail lay the home of family friends. It was so remote that we had rarely visited them. Whenever we left, knowing that we would not return for a long time, the place had seemed to disappear into the woods and out of sight, like a sylvan Brigadoon. To go there with my parents had been a rare treat; to return there as an adult would be a thrill.
As I stood at the head of the path, I could recall how marvelous this place had made me feel, with its unreal quiet and timeless, mythical serenity. I wondered why we had not come here more often, although I knew that you can visit such a place only on its terms.
I couldn’t remember any details, but I could sense them just beyond my comprehension and reach. I was happy that I was about to arrive, but I knew that I never would.
When I woke up, I realized there was no such place and never had been. But my memories of it are powerful, and I long to experience those feelings again.