Though I rarely discuss them publically beyond close friends and family, I have long been one of those people who have been blessed/cursed with intensely vibrant, realistic/surrealistic, often meaningful dreams. I usually remember them in extreme detail as they seem more like memories of recent events rather than fuzzy, misted dream recollections.
I have no idea why I have these dreams. Perhaps it’s because of my artistic nature, my right brain lean, my enchantment with the esoteric or a combination of all. I think it’s a bit genetic in nature as I’ve other family members with the same ability, my mother in particular was gifted in this department.
Sometimes these dreams are purely entertaining, joyful experiences filled with laugher and nonsense. Sometimes they are more somber steeped in symbolic imagery and detail. I’ve had uncannily prophetic dreams, dreams where I’ve had long heartfelt conversations with people long passed, and dreams filled with complete strangers spent walking the streets of ancient lands and other worlds.
And sometimes I have dreams filled with deep mystery that hint of messages from beyond and leave me feeling as if I must search for a missing puzzle piece before I can see the “big picture” of it all.
Last night was one of those experiences….
It began in a hospital. A hospital in some town in some state somewhere in this country. There had been a major renovation to the hospital – either a new wing had been added or one had been completely renovated.
I found myself in the dream space a few minutes after what must have been the ribbon cutting for the new addition. The area was filled with medical professionals, community leaders, and citizens of the town that seemed connected somehow to the renovation. Everyone was quite pleased with the new addition and there was much chatter amongst the attendees over bites of cake and sips of punch.
No one seemed to notice me at first and I was able to pass amongst the crowd as I pleased. I saw a printed program documenting the event on a desk and I decided to read it. That’s when I realized that the reason that I was there was that some of my art had been placed in the permanent collection of the hospital and was being featured somewhere in the renovation. For some reason, either I didn’t see or can’t recall exactly where this hospital was in the dream.
I still hadn’t been noticed by the crowd so I decided that I would explore the area myself and locate my art, as I was curious as to what work of mine was part of the collection.
I started off down a hallway to the left of where I had been reading the program leaving the chattering of the crowd behind me. The hallways were well lit with and painted a soft beige color. Everything sparkled with a feeling of newness to it. I still didn’t recognize my art so I continued deeper into a series of hallways and I soon realized that I had become lost in the process.
This made me slightly uncomfortable as I was now completely alone in a hospital with zero idea of where I or it was located. I decided that the best thing to do would be to try and back track my steps and listen for the voices of the crowd to find my way back to the main area.
I started back in the direction that I had came, but everything began to look the same and I was never certain that I was going in the right direction. That’s when it happened.
Suddenly, I found myself walking through a hallway that was darker and much cooler than the others. I realized that there were literally no lights fixture in the hallway. The hazy ambient light that was there was coming from an adjoining hallway that was separated from the one in which I was standing in by a wall of windows. The windows were of an old fashioned kind that had some sort of protective wire meshing incased within them. I stood in the middle of the hallway and looked through the glass into the other side.
It was like looking into the hospital’s past. I’m no expert on vintage industrial interior design, but I would guess it to be anywhere between the late 1930’s to the mid 1950’s. The floor had been yellowed and burnished with use and the light fixtures were of an earlier time. The light was yellowish which cast everything with a vintage sepia hue. A few chairs and a desk or two also had the same retro look and feel. It was then that I noticed the door.
Across and slightly to the left of where I was looking was a door to a room which caught my attention for no apparent reason. I found myself staring at the door for what seemed like quite some time as if I were waiting for something.
The door knob transformed in a photograph of a little girl. It was about an 8.5” by 11”, black and white studio portrait of a lovely little girl with pigtails and a big smile. She was about 7 to 10 years old and the photo seemed to be taken around the same time period as the wing that I was looking into. I found myself entranced with the photograph. She had dark blond hair, blue eyes, and she was wearing what appeared to be a hand made knit sweater over a blouse of darker color. I could feel a connection form between my eyes and hers. I could sense that the girl was trying to tell me something but I couldn’t quite make it out. It was as if there was static filling the airwaves.
Without warning, the photograph began to very slowly turn as if by two invisible hands. I could hear the clicking of the old mechanism of the door lock and I watched as the door creaked open revealing a completely dark room that seemed to go for an eternity. I felt a rush of cool air come over me and the sound of wind.
At that very moment that I was able to peer into the cavern of the room, the lights in the hallway in which I was standing popped on with a brilliant bright flash.
I found that the wall of windows was simply gone – now replaced with the sparkling newness of the other beige walls of the new addition. I found myself now face to face with one of my abstract paintings – now part of the permanent collection and hanging on the wall that a nanosecond before had been a portal to the hospital’s past.
I was stunned by the event and found myself shaking my head to clear away the confusion when suddenly I heard voices to my right.
It was a small group of nurses, some of whom were long retired, that were in attendance for the celebration. They said that they had been looking for me and they were glad to see that I had located my art work in the building. My face must have still registered the intensity of my experience as they asked me if anything was wrong.
I told them what I had just witnessed and they were stunned. One of the older nurses asked me to describe the girl in the photograph. I did so. Another of the other retired nurses began to weep as a third told me that when they were young women and working in the hospital, that where we were standing had been another area completely and that this particular spot had been the location of a room where long ago the little girl in the photograph had spent her final days before succumbing to the effects of a tragic event.
The nurses said that the entire staff had become very taken with the child. That said that she had such charisma, charm, and optimism that they all fell in love with the little girl. They were absolutely devastated when she passed.
The same nurse then told me that one of the child’s visitors, a gentle and mature man - perhaps a relation, insisted that the girl’s photograph be hung on the doorknob outside of the room so that he could find it more easily during visits as he would often become lost in the hallways of the hospital.
And at that point in the conversation, I simply woke up. I never got the girl’s name, the name of the hospital, the name of the visitor, the tragic event, or even the year.
What I did get is a haunting memory tinged by time and the sense that there may be much more to come from the little mysterious girl in the photograph…