Today, we’ll drive a little less than two and a half hours, to Texarkana, to look at the remnants of…what, my lost dream?

To others, it probably is just two-and-a-half acres, a manufactured house, and some out-buildings. But to me it represents the faded remains of…a fantasy, I guess. I cannot legitimately call it a dream, because dreams are made of achievable goals. This always was an illusion—or maybe a delusion—that was destined to wither into a dusty hologram. I have acknowledged, in writing, the death of my fantasy. I have recognized it as a silly, fruitless vacation from reality.

Yet, in spite of my recognition that it has decayed into a lifeless corpse, my fantasy has been a long-sought detachment. A refuge from a world that seems hell-bent on breaking the spirit of every man, woman, and child by overloading them with modern stresses, stresses that are brutal but that pale in comparison to what faced humanity only three or four generations back.

My fantasy placed me on a remote piece of property—with room to roam—that has a simple abode, an elaborately outfitted shop, and a tractor with a full complement of farm instruments. There, in my private place of psychological withdrawal, I would get to know who I am. I would get to understand my intended relationship with the earth. I would learn the secrets of gardening my way to self-sufficiency. I would work with soil and rock and wood to build practical and abstract monuments—short in stature but grandiose in definition. They would serve as gifts of atonement to Mother Earth for her injuries, the ones we caused and are causing. But they also would serve as recompense to me for all the years of denying myself my single most enduring desire.

It’s like a Catch-22, isn’t it? A fantasy about an unachievable fantasy. A fantasy in which my wishes about my wishes are acknowledged as having been denied, but then are fulfilled only to the extent that I essentially beseech Mother Earth to forgive me for failing to have allowed me to live out a fantasy. It’s how a labyrinthine mind, one whose entire network of tunnels all lead to the same entrance and exit, works.

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.

~ Eugene O’Neill ~

So, this fantasy is a mobile home on 2.54 acres of land, with a shop and storage building and carport. It is about three miles east of the eastern “loop” around Texarkana. How it came to my attention could be explained by relating a long and strange set of circumstances, but I choose not to explain it for now. Suffice it to say I learned that the place is on the market. And its availability coincided with the most recent resurgence (or, I might say, resurrection) of what I thought was a dead dream. Those circumstances colluded to place me in the position of driving 150 miles, seeking evidence that the dream has, indeed, risen.

That peace which is within us, we must experience it. And if we are searching for peace outside we will never find the peace within.

~ Prem Rawat ~

Mi novia probably thinks I am crazy to harbor an absurd fantasy for so long. A fantasy so out of sync with my lifestyle—and so at odd with both physical and mental condition—that it might be used as evidence that my mind has escaped to another planet or, at least, another plane. The variance from my own “normal” may be what I find so appealing. That, and the fact that, with a little open space and the right tools and materials, one can create his own little compound. Once can shut out as much noise as possible while building, in oneself, a resilience to the random sounds that break through his constructed barriers.

I imagine that remoteness and solitude encourage risky expressions of creativity. For example, in an empty place in the country, I might try to build a grandiose garden statute out of wood, whereas the risk of ridicule in a structured semi-urban/semi-rural environment is too great. Ah, this process of exploring a place in the country sounds a little too much like paying for protection from fear—fear of ridicule and mockery. Does superficial humiliation and scorn, based on ignorance or jealousy, have that much power over one’s thoughts and behaviors? Maybe.

Logic tells me I could probably find a similar place closer than two-and-a-half-hours away. And probably at the same or even lower price. But a similar place, closer to me, did not fall in my lap. And, there hasn’t been time, since I was struck by my fantasy’s resurrection, to actively look for such places. Yet, I’ll still drive to Texarkana because…road trip! I will use up a tank of gasoline to pay homage to a fantasy. I’m always dreamed of having a piece of land and a tractor with which to work it. And a place to stay overnight, only a place to rest between periods of working the land. I know, I know. “It’s a lot harder than you think!” I am not delusional to the point I think living and working on a little plot of land is easy. I am not after “easy.” I suppose I am after a corrective resurrection. And I know there is no such thing. So this whole thing is pointless, after all. But Mother Nature keeps whispering to me, telling me to keep looking. I tell her to stop, to leave me in my chaotic little replica of tornadic peace. Nevertheless, she persists.

There’s a Portuguese word, suadade, that translates roughly into “profound  melancholic longing for something or someone that one cares for and/or loves.” That describes my desire for a piece of land and the accouterments necessary to work it the way I would like.

On October 16, 2018—the day I got my very long hair cut very short—I wrote these words:

I do not know precisely why, at this advanced age, I still possess this lust for land and a tractor to work it. I’ve never lived on a farm or ranch, so it’s not nostalgia. I’ve mentioned fernweh before, a German word meaning  longing for a place one has never been. I wonder if there is a term in any language meaning longing for a lifestyle one has never lived. Or something like that.

Another German word, sehnsucht—which means an ardent longing or yearning, almost like an addiction—may better describe the situation. Or maybe not.


We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it.

~ John Steinbeck ~


The morning unfolds as if operating on a precise schedule. Yes, here it is, right on time. It has been daylight for quite some time now, as the clock nears the 7 o’clock announcement.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Unfolding

  1. David Legan says:

    Be careful what you wish for,

  2. John says:

    Thanks, Patty.

  3. Patty Dacus says:

    Have fun today exploring your dream!

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