I told a colleague at work recently about a reoccurring dream I have. She told me about hers first - and it isn't a particular dream - but a familiar setting she returns to over and over as "her house," although it really isn't her house. Except it is in her mind. My dream isn't necessarily one I re-visit often, but it's the location. It is almost as if I am sleepwalking, and I am meandering around my house. Except it isn't my house per se, not the one I'm living in now. It's the house my family owned 15 years ago back in Ohio. I don't roam the entire place, either. I start in my current bedroom, but by the time I get downstairs, I'm in the old kitchen. The pantry is there. It's a location stamped in my mind, a place where I can always find a snack or get food. I know it's there. But in this house, there's no big pantry. I read a blog post tonight about a guy praising the latest beta version of Bing Maps. While I generally can't respect much Microsoft puts on the Web, their map group has some slick stuff and great data (aerial views, etc). While I still prefer Google's maps and directions, Bing is staying competitive in maps. FWIW, they work on an iPad too (at least the feature reduced versions; it's embedded in one of my Weather apps). So, after exploring the environs around San Francisco, where it dropped me to start, I typed in my old address from where I used to live in the early 1980s, near Pittsburgh. Learning my phone number and address as a child, I still remember the address (and the phone number, although the area code may have changed). I found the house, it's a lighter color now. But what happened? I have fond memories of growing up there. We had a nice, large back yard. Plenty of fenced-in space for the dog to run, and even for the cat and dog to chase. Among the treats was a built-into the side of a hill flower bed, and up above, on the higher portion of the yard, we had a large garden. We had blueberry bushes, raspberries, various fruit trees. And now? It's almost all gone. Grass has taken over where the garden once was, and the flower bed looks like it has been over-eaten by grass. This troubles me to no end because in my mind, these things always have existed. I can go back in my mind and remember growing our own cucumbers... picking an apple off our own tree, and riding the lawn mower to cut the grass. Yet, according to Bing, some other people have been living there. Of course. It's perfectly rational to think they've changed things. But yet, there's that odd feeling, too. I then think to a college professor in philosophy class who once asked us: "How do you know the big tree outside this building is still there? You don't know. You expect it to be there, but you won't know until you go outside and look... and that's no guarantee that it's there, when you come back and sit in here." Whoa, "Why don't you mess with our minds?" I thought. I gripped the desk (maybe not). But I was taken back by Decartes ideas and now, in retrospect, was my childhood garden there?" Our world is what we make of it. While I fantasize over my old 'stomping grounds' and what may have been gone 14 years later when I sat in that college lecture hall back in Pennsylvania, life is about the now. I still find it fascinating that we need "sense of place" in our brains. Otherwise, I don't think the places we visit in dreamscape would be so specific or meaningful to us when we wake. I've been thinking about establishing a vegetable garden in my current backyard, and have been doing so for over a year. I often think back to the garden I had as a child. Yet, it's gone. In a small way that is sad to me. But, I ought to channel that emotion into creating something new and "now." Let the folks who lived here 20 years ago see the yard this next year, and see "someone's putting in a garden."