For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.–Martin Luther
I must confess that as of late, I have been more the meditative soul than the dreamer. This has been due in part to a two week long battle with the flu, the resulting medications of which continually knocked me into dreamless and fitful slumber instead of my normal nightly wanderings. What dreams have come between have also been, frankly, too personal to share.
After what has seemed like forever, my brain has returned to its routine and my midnight mental conjurings are beginning to return again. The first dream since my febrile fight (during which I somehow managed to successfully write 3 lengthy posts about mourning!) came to me in the dark delirium of a Friday night, and boy it felt good to be back!
I awoke in a dense forest, so verdantly green that my breath caught in my throat at the sight of the emeralds and jades that filtered in the soft, dappled light from the sun high above. I was sitting in a lush spot of clover, little white flowers dotting the forest floor ahead of me. Sapling trees with white blooms were scattered amongst the larger trunks of the towering oaks, pines, and ash trees as well. In this moment, I felt both entranced by my surroundings, and yet as if I had been asleep for a long time, body heavy and mind thick with drowsiness.
“Finally!” exclaimed my friend, offering his hand to me, “I was debating on whether I should let you sleep or wake you up. It’s been ages. Now come along, darling, I’ve something to show you.”
I took his hand and stood, shakily at first. As if I were floating, and not in total control over my limbs, we walked hand in hand through the forest. Birdsong rang out in bell-like tones through the air as we made our way to a creek, water bubbling over rocks and around gnarled roots. We followed its lazy sprawl until a clearing began to take form up ahead.
A stone tower caught my eye as we trudged along. It dominated the small clearing, grey-brown spire reaching solemnly up to the heavens, crowned with a modest crucifix. Making our way closer to it, I could see a stone and glass structure behind the tower through the foliage. The best word to describe it would be “greenhouse”, as it was compromised of huge windows and filled with greenery. Once we reached the clearing, my companion spoke again.
“It’s a chapel. I can tell you’re wondering by the look on your face.” He smiled down at me and nudged me forward with an elbow. “Pay attention to the monuments around it. Do you see the weeping angel?”
He let go of my hand and again, nudged me forward. I walked up to the tower first, taking in the structure in its entirety. The stone tower was the bell tower and entrance to the chapel, with small flying buttresses coming off the sides of it that flanked the greenhouse-like formation of the worship hall. The creek ran underneath the tower, with beautiful archways framing the water. It was on top of the arch that the weeping angel sat, hands cupping her chin, face wrought with despair.
“Beautiful, isn’t she?” asked my friend. “Well, you should take a picture! It’s not every day that you’ll see this, dear.”
I nodded in silent agreement and pulled my phone out of my dress pocket. As I snapped the picture, the weeping angel suddenly became two instead of one before our eyes. I looked back to my friend and he seemed unfazed, as if he expected it. I raised my eyebrows and cocked my head at him. He merely gave me a wry smile as he reached out and took my hand again.
“It’d be a shame to come all this way and not attend the service, don’t you think?”
“I suppose so. Though I thought that wasn’t exactly your style…” I murmured back to him, my voice thick as if I were still half-asleep.
“Well, I don’t know about all that. I have secrets, too, just like you.”
We made our way to the doors and peered into the church, staring down the aisle of austere, wooden pews straight to the altar. A priest in Catholic attire was leading the congregation in prayer. Though it was a small chapel, nearly every seat was filled. I tried to listen, but could not hear a word.
“On second thought, it might be rude to interrupt.” said my friend, tugging me back out of the church. As if drugged, I bowed my head and followed without complaint.
We sat wordlessly by the side of the creek, watching the water swirl and eddy around pebbles for what seemed like hours until a voice rang out. A man called my friend by name.
Turning to the sound, we saw two men approach on horseback wearing Victorian garb. My friend stood up and shook their hands, pleasantries exchanged all around. He introduced me and I gave one of the horses some pats on the nose.
“So how long have you been in Glasgow?” asked one of the men.
“Glasgow?” I asked, still feeling a bit drugged. “This isn’t Glasgow.” My head began swimming in the dream and I felt drunk. I put my hand to my forehead and staggered a little as the sky began to distort. I felt a hand on my shoulder steady me, though I was unsure of who was touching me. “Glasgow is a city, we’re hours far away…. This can’t be Glasgow…”
I stared back at the glass chapel. Sunlight glinted off of the roof line and reflected off of the glass panels, dazzling my eyes.
I couldn’t answer whoever called my name and I felt myself falling over the edge of the creek, down into the water which was now more ocean than creek. It swallowed me whole.
Vision black, I awoke in my bed with a start.
To be honest, I had almost forgotten just how vivid my dreams can be, how real they can feel. This was a perfect reminder of that.
The chapel seemed like it could be a real place. I’ve been scouring the internet looking for anything that comes close, to no avail, especially not in or around Glasgow. I did find a chapel with a similar tower in Magnano, Italy, though the rest of it is stone and not glass. If it only exists in my dream world, I hope to return one day. And, If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll be able to attend a service at the Glass Chapel.