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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Jonathan McKeown


And the Lord God sent him from the garden of Eden
to till the soil from which he had been taken.

                                                          – Genesis 3: 23

We may not all have a ‘happy place’, but most have some place that stays with us long after we leave. My wife calls hers “Telopea Street,” though technically it’s a house not a street, the setting for many of her dreams.

Saturday morning: she adjusts her pillows and sits up to sip the cup of tea I have just placed on her bedside table. I open the blinds, and as I’m getting back into bed, ask, “What is it?” – she seems absorbed in thought about something. “Just a dream,” she says. “… I was driving past Telopea Street and noticed a ‘Garage Sale’ sign out the front. So I decided to go in and have a look after all these years. The first thing I noticed were a lot of children’s toys, which surprised me: I’d always imagined young professionals living there. But even the shape of the block was different if that were possible. The further I went in the more I discovered it was all completely different. They had changed everything; it was virtually unrecognisable …” She goes on describing the differences in intimate detail but I’m not listening as attentively.

I’m thinking of the Farm, and how rarely I remember my dreams these days. The last I had of the Farm was nearly 20 years ago. … It ended inconclusively, an abrupt change of scene, I am driving into the central desert in a convertible, vaguely solicitous about the two mysterious children in the back seat … That dream was so strong, so strange it played on my mind for years. Eventually it drew me back.

They had pulled the old house down. I found the porch swing, buckled, rusting where the yard used to be, the once grand old pepper tree, decrepit, the tank-stand overgrown, bits of machinery, other things … fragments … half buried.

the scent of a flower
I cannot find