In my dream, I am wandering a garden idyll. The leaves are the shades of pink one finds in the finest flower gardens, yet at the slightest breath of wind they tumble from the boughs like the reapings of autumn. I ramble along a path, unpaved but for the steps of those who have come before, between these ancient and gentrly weeping trunks and a still river that, but for the occasional ripples, would seem a silver mirror.

I am approaching a stately manor house, hewn from the local stones, the sort of luxury that only the wealthiest could afford in a time when lives came cheap. It is tall and narrow, its windows clouded by age and assembled in courtly checkerboards. The stonework, the craftsmanship, is astonishing. Whoever lives there is clearly the lord of this place, and when a reach their door, an audience will be mine whether I want it or not.

The dream always ends before I reach those great banded oak doors. Sometimes I am so far away I can’t even see them; once, my finger was closing around the knocker.

I have no idea what waits for me in that manse surrounded by all the rosy shades of the world. I have no idea if I will ever reach it. Someone once told me that perhaps it is a metaphor for my own approaching death; if that is the case, I will walk those paths willingly all the same and cross under impossible branches to knock at a stranger’s door.

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