pine needle trail

1 I have a dream… of a trail of pine needles.

2 I am inside an aquarium, a small aquarium for one fish or two. But it’s okay because I’m tiny too. And I’m not drowning or anything. There is no water. But a thin layer of snow blankets the glass bottom.

3 I am facing toward the back of the aquarium, where a long row of miniature pine trees stretch out before me.  Either way I look, they seem to go on forever, as if the aquarium is expanding to fit them.

4 Then I notice a trail. It is not marked by anything but compressed snow of past footsteps. It begins at my feet and stretches off to my left through the deep snow into a big white open space. Here, the snow slopes downhill until the snow and the sky converge all white in the distance.

5 I don’t know how I got here and I don’t know whether to follow the trail, but there is no other. I wonder for a moment if I made the trail by coming here, and if it makes sense for me to go back or to keep going in the direction of my original intention… But I don’t remember what it was that I was going towards or why it was important. So I stand still there for a minute and feel my feet slowly go from warm to frozen to numb.

6 Then your hand reaches down into the aquarium. It is big and warm and strong. It could wrap around my body and pick me up, but it doesn’t.

7 There is something between your fingers. The smell hits me before I see them fall. You crush a handful of pine needles, rolling them between your fingers and you sprinkle them along the trail of footprints, starting from my feet and leading off into the distant white abyss.

8 A blizzard of snow is suddenly swirling now, so your hand disappears before I have the chance to ask it what it means by that gesture.

9 But it’s your hand. So I follow the trail.

10 I seem to get nowhere. Always the white abyss up ahead and always the long line of pine trees to my right. The edge of the tank is always right in front of me.

11 I see flashes of the glass through the blizzard, and I am always surprised when I take another step and don’t run into it.

12 The trail leads downhill through the deep snow.

13 Down. Down. Down.

14 And suddenly I am at a cottage. A small wooden cottage with a Christmas wreath on the door. A red brick chimney lets slip that there is a warm fire inside. Even outside, it smells of pine needles and cinnamon and holly. I stand there forever and feel my feet get warm again.

15 I don’t need to go in to know that it’s home, Simon. Because you have led me there.



So I think what I’m saying about this whole house search is that we should be looking into aquariums…


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