The Basement, Part 1

Have you ever dreamed of basements? I haven’t lately (that I recall), but have had some harrowing basement dreams in the past. Many years ago, I dreamt about the basement in the house I grew up in. Of course, it being a dream, I wondered why I was back in that house and in that basement. It seems I had left some pets behind — at least a few turtles, maybe something else amphibious — and they had grown huge. One was hungry and I was trying to feed it with guinea pig pellets (I did have a guinea pig as a child, but never turtles) and it was coming after me with its huge beaked mouth. AAAAAAHHHHHHHGGGGGGG!

In the other basement dream I remember, I was in my then-husband’s basement in a strange house on a strange fairground. The basement was filled with gigantic aquariums and they were filled to overflowing with water and huge, roiling sea creatures…

If you look it up, in dreams “a basement is generally considered to represent the unconscious and the Shadow.” And, “Being in the cellar in a dream may suggest that you are exploring your unconscious and everything that is stored there; for instance, basic instincts, animal behavior, intuition, memories, emotions and aspects of the Shadow — the parts of yourself that you do not acknowledge or accept. […] You may be recalling repressed memories or searching for aspects of yourself that you have forgotten or that haven’t fully emerged yet.” Then: “If the basement is wet [yes], there may be a lot of emotions that need to be brought to the surface and expressed. If it is dark [yep], you may be unwilling or unprepared to turn on the light and see what is there. If it is dirty or messy, there may be a lot of negative emotions and memories that need to be acknowledged, dealt with and released [no kidding].”

Let’s not even go into the meaning of aquariums in dreams, well, just a little: “May symbolize the exploration or expression of the emotions. May symbolize feelings about Mother, or motherhood. May symbolize the womb. May symbolize an emotional environment. May represent the unconscious. May symbolize a controlled environment. May symbolize the containment or repression of thoughts and emotions. May represent feeling emotionally trapped. May symbolize feeling watched or watchful. May symbolize fertility.” Wowsa.

What’s all this have to do with MY ACTUAL basement in MY house? Simply that it reminded me of those nightmares, that’s what! I don’t even have any photographs of its original state! It was down there, but I tried to avoid entering it. Not just what the structural engineer had bemoaned — all the crumbling mortar — but it was dark, damp and smelled nasty. The stairs were narrow and unlit. Someone had put in plywood walls to cover up most of the crumbling stone and they were painted dark browns and reds. The water heater and boiler had been enclosed in a dark, dusty little room. There was a dank little room under the stairs with a toilet, a utility sink and space for a washer and dryer. There was a tiny door (not at all up to code) that led outside and one time, when I bumped the plywood wall next to it, it fell off.

The pictures are in a grid. You can click or tap on the first and then hit the arrows to go back and forth:

It may all yet crumble beneath my feet, but at least I’ll know about it because there’s plenty of light. It smells GOOD down there, I love the sound of clothes tumbling in the dryer, don’t you? And when I renovate the main bathroom, I will have one to use in the basement. More on that later, too!

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