After having mapped things out for myself, quite literally, I can now see patterns, mostly of loss and regret. In my dream-wanderings I long to reconnect with those I have wronged and those I loved, with the places that I felt sank deep into my soul, as silly as that may seem. It isn't a case of lost innocence - that was happening way before I ever moved to Chicksands. But it is, I think, a case of misplaced magic, something that I feel I might pick up if I can connect again. Of course, that's a forlorn hope - I have change, others have changed (some, I am guessing are dead and gone anyway), the place and my previously-privileged ability to move about it freely are no longer the same. What's the analogy of entropy? A child let loose in a sandbox where half the sand is white and half is black. Let the child run in a clockwise direction for a while, until the sand is good and mixed. Then let him run counterclockwise. Sorry, but widdershins doesn't undo the initial chaos. In fact, it makes it worse. You can't step into the same river twice.
And yet, my dream self, my astral self wants to at least try, despite the heartache, he wants to try and will keep trying until . . .? What?
Now that I've been able to visit Chicksands, if only for half a day, I am curious to see if the tenor of my dreams change. They are sometimes very intense. It's been a year and a half since we visited, and I visited in a very different context (married, with children - though they weren't with us, drug and alcohol free for almost 34 years now) than when I lived there, so it wasn't exactly going widdershins against the past. But I can't recall having dreamed about Chix since that trip. Maybe once, but apparently it wasn't so intense that I can recall it. Some of those post-1987, pre-2019 dreams had me waking up crying, some had be waking in a panic, others had me so coddled that I didn't want to wake up at all. For once, I'd like to dream of . . . just a pleasant stay with friends there. That's all. But then I think, if my intent wasn't so intense, if I wasn't so driven in my dreams, could I recapture the magic? I simply don't know.
I've mentioned the non-existent barrow in the western woods. The dreams around that have had a particularly magical, un-real feeling, probably because it is the least real, or most un-real of locations in my dreams about Chicksands. It is purely imaginal. But then again, what is magic but activating and expressing the imagination in an un-expressible manner? In my barrow-dreams, I explore a lot, usually alone, but sometimes with an unseen companion(s) whom I think of as friends. Maybe some of my lost friends are alongside me, though I can't see them. Maybe they are looking, as well. How will I ever know? These dreams inevitably end on a note of ecstasy. Not sexual ecstasy, though the feelings in the body are enough to cause paroxysms. There is a sense of such utter happiness that I feel like I'm going to explode in a shower of light and, in fact, my body oftentimes shines so brightly in these dreams that I illuminate the vale of trees (the barrow dream always happens at night) and the round stone hill in white light that cascades from me. Perhaps it's because I'm unfettered by all the worries and loss and anguish that drives me to other parts of the dream-Chicksands, searching in vain for friends and familiar places. While I'm trying in vain to climb the hill to the bowling alley, or searching through a labyrinthine NCO club that holds more nooks and crannies than Pirenesi's world, I literally skip places, passing instantaneously "through" long stretches where my feet used to trod. But no matter how quickly I "teleport" I can't ever seem to find what I want. Except in the barrow. It's a place of contentment, where I don't feel that I have to grind out this pilgrimage for lost friends and vanished (to me) places. It is my magic sanctuary, if you will.
It's really the only place I need.