In early September of 2012, I was staying with a friend around Camden Town on the back end of playing a few late-summer UK festivals with The Antlers. That morning, she’d gone to work and I’d slept in another hour. I was in an extra-vivid dream thanks to weedlessness that past week.
In the dream, I was walking a grassy, wooded trail with a decades-old version of my family. Their body language in that environment felt so familiar to me that I awoke confident it wasn’t newly-generated, but instead an uncovered memory from my early childhood. Displaced in time, I dressed and ate, and left for a walk.
I scanned the map for green spaces, finding Regent’s Park to be the closest. Strolling down Camden’s winding side-streets, I came upon Primrose Hill first, and ascended until I was high enough for the city to spill below. I remained there for a few minutes, before descending to Regent’s north entrance.
Through the late morning light, I followed the careful paths along the lake and around the rose garden’s loop. I could have woven those walks for hours. But the grounds were filling with a sizable wedding party, and I took that as a cue to leave.
I checked the map again and found Hyde Park wasn’t too far, so I set myself in that direction. When I arrived, I noticed the park felt more exposed than Regent’s, with more expansive spaces.
Kicking through tall grass in an overgrown yard, I reached the bank of the Serpentine. On the opposite shore, I saw picnickers and pets laid out on the lawn, backlit by the afternoon’s sun and distant enough to appear painted. I sat there awhile, examining the brushstrokes, considering the possibility that I’d remained in my dream.