When I was a kid, living in a small town in southern Illinois, there were a few times when I engaged in a weird form of daydreaming.
I would be sitting in the gold velvety chair in my grandmother’s living room. I would close my eyes, and think of the house of someone I didn’t know. They would live near railroad tracks, I decided. In their house was a porcelain doll. It was in two pieces, a body and a cracked head with a split eye. It was surrounded by keys and buttons in a junk drawer.
It wasn’t always the doll. I would think of other places, other people’s lives, nothing too extraordinary, but with just the right ingredients to evoke a certain feeling. Like melancholy perhaps, or nostalgia for something that’s never happened.
Occassionally, I’ll get the same feeling in real life. Once I was driving through the woods in Illinois, and turned a corner. I was greeted by a long one-story brick house, with inch-high grass and two pony lawn ornaments. I can’t describe it, but for some reason their distance from one another was extremely important. I was overcome by the feeling I tried to describe earlier, and can evoke it when thinking about that time.
It’s not something I force, usually, it just happens sometimes. The last time I remember I was thinking about a married couple who lived near boats. He had an office full of books, and a desk drawer full of D&D Miniatures that he painted himself. They both play this game. They also wear sweaters. I almost get the feeling that I’m seeing the past.
I’ve become somewhat addicted to it. The view from this home office window on a cloudy day does it. Construction equipment on a sunny day, smokestacks in the middle of a green field, an airplane flying over a castle, water towers with painted faces, all of these things can evoke it. Thinking about any of them can evoke it. Harbors, houses on a mountainside, a hot-air balloon, they all work.
It almost makes me think this is what meditation is supposed to be like. I don’t think about these things often enough. I think if I did, I would feel much calmer and more satisfied with life.
Of course, I get such an odd feeling of well-being it makes me think there’s a component of mental illness to it as well.
Still, if there is, it would be the kind I think I could handle.