projects and writings of Tracy Burkholder
Many, many years ago I drove to a house that sat along Johnson Creek and the Leach Botanical Garden to do a trade with an acquaintance. I remember being surprised that a street so deep in southeast, just off Foster Rd. could feel so tranquil, lush and foresty. The trade was entirely unremarkable, but I still walked away from that session with something completely unexpected.
As I walked down the hall into a very plain treatment room, I passed the living room and its row of windows that looked out on the backside of the botanical garden. The woman also did interior design, and though her taste was more spiritual/hippie than mine, even my brief peek at the room filled me with a sense of calm and beauty.
Ever since that visit, that briefly glimpsed space has appeared regularly in my dreams, a kind of fully functional and adaptable stage set for my unconscious mind. Sometimes the room is empty, sometimes it’s full of furniture or people or food. But there’s always a row of dark wood windows that run the full length of the room and outside, the green glow of the garden. The light outside filters in and warms the darkness.
I’d never been to the Leach Botanical Garden, but I remembered that it sat right next to this house. After I’d wandered around the carefully tended grounds, I drove down the neighboring street to see if the house was really there. It was. My acquaintance no longer lives there and the new owners seem to have taken the hippie elements that were once there and let them run wild: packed earth structures, goddess paintings, a neglected pool and a slightly less neglected dome made of sweeping white tarps. None of this mattered too much. All I needed to see was a hint of the windows wrapping around the living room at the front of the house. The row of windows, the acres of green behind it. I felt a quick, unbalancing tug as I recognized my dream landscape while wide awake.
And now I wonder if the neat paths and towering trees and the old stone house of the Leach Botanical garden will become a bigger part of that dream set. Instead of just being a wall of green beyond the windows, maybe now I’ll walk out into them and my dream life will wander down the creek and hide beneath the bridge and bend low to brush my dream hands across a smooth leaf.