There is a place I keep dreaming of. Come with me, I'll take you there.
Remove your shoes, you don't need them. Feel the chill of the floor beneath your feet. It's polished black marble, little white veins of crystal quartz weaving through it. Trace the white lines with your toe, feel how chaotic and random they are. We're in a building, a home, with one singular room. All the space is wide open like a ranch style house with no interior walls.
There's a white couch ahead of us in the middle of the room. Go ahead, touch the fabric - I must confess I never have, but I imagine it is coarse. Dense and hard. A couch meant for appearances and not for sitting. Beside it, a silver lamp is hunched over a reading chair like an old butler waiting to serve. The room should smell like fresh rain but I don't know for sure - I can never smell anything in my dreams.
Follow me as I cross the room, taking one step down into the space that holds the couch, the chair, the lamp. The whole room is a massive rectangle, shorter ends to your left and right. The wall before us is made entirely of glass, floor to ceiling, clean as air. It’s almost like it's not even there. The cool marble kisses the balls of our feet as we pad across the floor, past the random furniture to stand before the glass. This is always when the awe strikes me. Just on the other side of the glass, two steps down from the house, is a rainforest.
Water roaring, birds rustling. Endless green.
Step beyond the glass wall and feel the thin wooden deck beneath our feet. We take its two steps down and the wood sighs beneath our weight as we step barefoot onto the forest’s soil. It’s thick and black. Damp and slightly chilled as it sucks us in, curling around our toes. Embracing us. Light rain falls through the trees, our lips are damp. The leaves around us are so green it’s like we’re seeing the whole world through a filter and just before us a small path disappears into the trees.
Isn’t it beautiful?
I have dreamed about this place my whole life but when I was younger, I didn’t know what it was. I’d flip through real estate magazines just to get a glimpse inside a million dollar home. I’d dream of a massive white kitchen, a large blue pool, wide spacious hallways, fabulous decor and rugs to make my feet sigh.
I would wonder why I went to the strange place in my mind where the floor was chilled, the rooms were bare and the awe I felt came from something I had never seen before. Sprawling black floors and incredible green. A dirt path rolling through it. The persistence of rain.
In the place of my dreams there were so few rooms. The furniture didn’t demand attention, the decor didn’t exist and I always found myself leaving it behind for the green beyond the glass. But why? Why was the place I dreamt of so different from the homes in the realtor magazines?
When I was 23 I owned a house and was building a home with a man. We were engaged to be married, we had real walls and wooden floors and a modest backyard with a pond but there was a day where I stood in the hallway alone, looking at the walls and thought to myself this will never be my home.
Shortly after I stood in that house, hoping it would become my home and knowing it wouldn’t, I left the man I was supposed to marry. On our wedding day, a month later, I flew to Iceland for the first time.
And, finally, I flew home.
Imagine one more thing for me. Imagine that the black marble of the floors in my dream house dissolve beneath your feet. It bursts into a thousand, million little pieces, as granular as sand. No, not like sand; it is sand. Powdery and black. Eroded fragments from the wonder that is cooled lava and basalt rock.
Imagine that the glass walls at the end of the room, the ones we stepped through, dissolve and beyond them the green remains so vibrant it takes your breath away. But it's not a rainforest waiting outside. It is a lava field, coated in a thick fur of green moss, electric and glowing. Soft to the touch. Through its lumpy hills little brown paths spiral off into the distance.
Imagine that I had been dreaming of Iceland my entire life without ever knowing what it really looked like and only understanding what it felt like. Home. As a young girl the black and green world inside my head was mine. It was the place where my heart felt like the world was endless and the possibilities infinite. More than that, it felt like the place I was going. My dream home. My future if I could only find it.
I had never been to Iceland when my mind manifested the house with the black marble floors and the sprawling rainforest. I hardly knew Iceland was a country, let alone what it looked like, but I cannot help but believe that some part of me knew what I was looking for even when I didn’t. Yes, a rainforest is not a lava field and black marble is not black sand but Iceland and the place I built inside my head feel the same.
My dream home is not a tangible thing to be built. It’s not something I can design. It’s not the place where my cats live or my family and friends reside or where I grew up. I still live in Canada and I don’t know if I’ll ever live in my dream home or the cost it will take to get there. All I know is that my dream home isn’t a house, it is a country that I have been dreaming of all my life.
It is vibrant green so bright you feel wonder. Coastlines of sprawling black sand. Ever-changing weather. Constant damp. Wicked winds. The place that makes my soul feel endless. It is 2700 miles away across an ocean that has swallowed men and ships.
It is Iceland.