The Landscape Game [with answers and bumped]

Done. I wait with baited breath.

Posted by Patvann at May 25, 2010 4:12 PM

As a long-time journaler, this is fascinating! Wrote down the questions and my answers in my journal just now instead of fretting in there about surgery tomorrow. Can't wait to read the meanings on Friday! Thanks for a welcome distraction tonight.

Posted by Carrie at May 25, 2010 7:31 PM


When was the last time you posted this. It was truly revealing, but I can't seem to find my answers in my journals.


Posted by mike at May 26, 2010 6:06 PM

Very interesting. I have very vivid detailed dreams and journal them. Can't wait to see what transpires on Friday.

Posted by rulan at May 26, 2010 6:18 PM

Okay, I sort of tried to recall a dream pattern for the first two questions, but after that it just didn't correspond to my experience, so I lost interest.

Posted by sherlock at May 26, 2010 10:27 PM

Well, it's not the sort of thing you find featured at "The Short Attention Span Theater," I'll grant you that.

Posted by vanderleun at May 27, 2010 1:41 AM


My answers are pretty long so I posted them on my blog. Looking forward to the results tomorrow.

Posted by Dust Bunny Queen at May 27, 2010 8:23 AM

Wish I'd scrolled down to see that the answers weren't there.
I hate waiting.

But I love games. Especially games about dreams. So I guess I'll wait for the answers. Tomorrow? Don't disappoint and forget now!

Posted by Patty at May 27, 2010 12:40 PM

I shall not.

Posted by vanderleun at May 27, 2010 1:00 PM

Long ago I was asked these questions by someone who certainly should have had my best interests at heart. Alas that now I can neither play the game again, nor find what I've yearned for and never even really had to lose.

Play fair, and learn what you can.

Posted by raincityjazz at May 27, 2010 4:40 PM

About fifteen years back, there was a micro-fad around a book called The Cube. I suspect that the questions inside and their meanings are a different version of The Landscape Game. It is, however, much shorter.

I think somebody very honest could play the game a second time given enough time, because when the answers are true it doesn't matter if you know the meaning,

Posted by B. Durbin at May 27, 2010 4:51 PM

I can't believe I'm actually going first, but here goes. Caution to the wind, what the hell.

1) Something is going wrong and I can't stop it. Loved ones are in danger.

2) My house. Right here.

3) 0600.

4) Fairly small. Neat and tidy.

5) Two trees. At the property lines.

6) A heavy crystal bowl, with cuts and patterns on the outside. It's green, like an emerald.

7) Old and ornate, made from brass and steel. The end has a fancy carved pattern.

8) A fast moving clear stream. I drink from it and splash water on my head and arms.

9) Old heavy stone wall. I climb over it.

10) A large, dark, foreboding castle.

Posted by Ride Fast at May 27, 2010 7:23 PM

Fascinating, and even before the "answers" are revealed. I found myself writing and writing some more. That in itself was most enjoyable, a respite with a life of its own.

Friday almost doesn't matter, but I have a feeling I'm in for a good surprise.

Posted by f/zero at May 27, 2010 11:30 PM

Ridefast, I had some similarities with you.

1) the "frustration dream" where I keep trying to achieve a goal and all kinds of stupid useless stuff prevents me.

3) morning, anyway.

4) Fairly small. Neat and tidy. Add: colorful

7) I describe mine as a fairy tale key; sounds similar to yours.

What happened to your kitchen?

9) Stone wall also; but I look over mine.

Posted by Marie at May 28, 2010 1:02 AM

A1. I am by a river in a beautiful forest. The colors around me are pastels. They swirl and make little sense, but are wonderful. I hear the river flowing, it’s full of colors too. I realize I am dreaming and wake, still seeing the colors when my eyes open.

A2. It’s an old house (not American old) on the side of a mountain. I’m not sure where I am. I think in eastern Europe. There is a garden and a field for animals to graze on. The home is in rough shape, but lovingly decorated and not falling down. It’s filled with the smell of baking bread.

A3. 3 am

A4. Old, almost like a fairytale. Old beams and a hard working brick hearth. The bread is ready to eat and fresh butter for it. There are still warm embers; I put some wood on them to warm myself.

A5. There are several apple trees scattered around the house. The forest lies beyond.

A6. The bowl is wooden and slightly cracked, from the elements. There is a little moss growing on it, yet it still bares marks from the hands that made it.

A7. Skeleton key, engraved.

A8. A crystal clear lake, I enjoy a swim in my skivvies. I am alone.

A9. A cobbled rock wall. Sit and rest and smell the balsam scented air.

A10. An overgrown field, filled w/wild flowers in bloom.

Posted by up late at May 28, 2010 5:53 AM


"What happened to your kitchen?"

Sorry, I don't understand why you asked that.

Posted by Ride Fast at May 28, 2010 7:51 AM

Here are my answers. I got a bit carried away, but I figure if this is a once in a lifetime exercise I may as well spend some time on my answers.

) In my dream I’m watching as a wild stallion runs through a field in the mountains. I can feel the wind from his wake as he rushes past. I wonder, where is he going? What is he doing? So I climb a hill nearby to observe. I watch as he runs downhill towards a stream. Instead of drinking from the stream he rears up and madly thrashes his hoves in the air as he lets out a scream that echoes through the valley. On the other side of the stream is a lone mare. Quiet, demurely she snorts, flips her tail and runs off. The stallion leaps into the stream in pursuit.

2) When I wake up I'm in a house in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The house is in the side of a hill leading down to a quiet secluded beach. The house is completely open to a panoramic view of the ocean. It has no exterior walls facing the ocean only drapes & netting hanging and swaying gently with the ocean breeze as protection from the elements. The floor is lined in soft terracotta tiles, with hand woven area carpets lying about.

3) When I wake up it’s mid-day, around 5 pm. Just before dusk.

4) The kitchen also is open, with a timeless ancient feel. It has an ancient stone arced oven for baking bread, a butcher's block and a large open fireplace with a large pot hanging over the fire. The walls are decorated with ornate tiles. Dried peppers, onions & garlic are hanging from the arches.

5) The trees are desert acacias. They are spaced out a distance of several feet from the mud brick exterior of the house. The acacia trees line a path with a border of large stones. There are rows of 5 acacias on each side of the path for a total of 10. The path leads a short distance from the house to a small grotto with a statue of Our Lady. The grotto is surrounded by 5 date palm trees, 3 pepper trees and 2 more acacias.

6) The bowl I find along the path is a small (just about the size of cupping my hands together)rustic clay bowl. It is painted on the outside with a deep royal blue adorned with gold metallic painted stars. Around the outer upper rim are 2 yellow wavey lines and along the base are 2 red straight lines encircling the base. The inside of the bowl is smooth, polished white with a blue gray caste.

7) The key is an ancient Roman brass barrel key (sorta like a skeleton key) with a fleur de lis opening.

8) The body of water is a pool that has formed from a beaver's dam along the river. I take off my shoes, roll up my pants and wade through the shallow part of the pool to the other side. When I get to the other side I climb up to an angled ledge on top of a large boulder. There I strip then jump feet first in to deep end of the pool. I swim & wade around for awhile, gargle some water then relax floating in the water on my back with arms outstretched. I float there gazing up into the sky above making imaginary shapes out of the clouds above.

9) The wall is made of large mud bricks covered with vines. I take several steps back from the wall to get a better look at it and assess it’s height, length, and try to determine it’s purpose.

10) Behind the wall there is a serene green pasture with animals of all kinds grazing peacefully. I see the Mare from my earlier dream stretching out her neck to reach for the red, delicious apples growing in the lush apple trees, her foals jumping and playing nearby.

Posted by janet at May 28, 2010 10:08 AM

Well. There's that.

Posted by Andy at May 28, 2010 11:40 AM

Here are my answers to the questions. Like Janet I spent some time on them in order to make them as descriptive as possible.

1. I am outside watching the aurora on a moonlit night. It is very cold…and silent. The only sound is the sound of my breath freezing into a myriad of multi colored ice crystals. There are moondogs around the moon. The light from the aurora and the moon makes the snow look like a field of Harlequin Opals.

2. It is a modern Craftsman style house by a lake in the Northwoods, somewhere in Minnesota/Wisconsin/U.P. of Michigan. It has Mission furniture, hardwood floors, fir cabinets, built in book cases full of books, big fireplace with Alphonse Mucha tile fireplace facing, nice screened in porch. Lots of windows in Craftsman style with Prairie art glass transoms and room dividers. Ukiyo-e prints by Hasui and Koitsu are hanging on the walls.

3. 4:20 AM

4. Large but not huge. An old style kitchen with lots of cabinets and counter space. There is an island with a granite top. The kitchen is fully tiled with Mucha Lily border, the floor is linoleum. There is a table with 4 chairs. My kitty is laying on the windowsill watching the birds outside.

5. The yard is filled with trees-Maple, Birch, Balsam Fir. They surround the house but not engulf it. In the front yard there is a nice Birch tree. By the porch there are Lilacs and Roses.

6. It is a hand glazed bowl of Japanese design with a green/rust/tan dripping type glaze.

7. Matte black, about the size of an old style skeleton key. The handle is somewhat ornate but in a simple way.

8. It is a very large lake. I stand at the shore and feel the coolness of the breeze as it blows off the lake, watch the light dance on the water. Then I sit on a rock and take my shoes off and dip my feet in the cool water and rest for awhile.

9. It is made of multi colored and various sized stones-like river washed stones. I look for a gate or break in it so I can continue my journey.

10. I am at the top of a hill overlooking a beautiful green countryside-someplace like Devonshire. It is sunrise.

Posted by Nahanni at May 28, 2010 12:10 PM

Wow and Yikes. Pretty revealing and very interesting.

I posted my answers on my blog because they were really long.....and now I'm pretty embarassed about the water scene. I just take off my clothes and go swimming....exibitionist I guess.

My over the fence scene was pastoral and had more fences in the distance. Does this mean that I view the after life as being more lives and more fences to cross? That we don't just end but continue on.

Is there any place that gives interpretations or do we just puzzle it out for ourselves?

Posted by Dust Bunny Queen at May 28, 2010 12:42 PM

Wonder how many people now believe their conception of the afterlife consists of "trying to see the hot neighbor sunbathing."

Posted by Lileks at May 28, 2010 12:44 PM

It is more than a little creepy that my answer to Question 10 was "Heaven."

Posted by Nony at May 28, 2010 1:27 PM

Interestingly - my mental picture of what was behind the wall was the same as my dream - a pastoral scene of rolling bucolic fields centered with a pond and cool shade trees . . . and a feeling that this was infinite.

Thanks Gerard.

Posted by Alan G at May 28, 2010 2:35 PM

Ride fast,

"4) You get up and go into the kitchen. What kind of kitchen is in this house?"

I didn't see your answer there.

Posted by at May 28, 2010 2:59 PM

Dust Bunny,

that's ok, for my water, it was a lake and all I did was feel the mud up in my toes and feel the oppressive heat.

Guess I need a little work there ;)

Posted by Marie at May 28, 2010 3:01 PM

oh sorry ride fast, I see it now, I guess I confused your answer with the house answer.

Sorry to monopolize the comments, I'll move along. . .

Posted by Marie at May 28, 2010 3:02 PM

My answers. That was very interesting. Thanks for the experience.

1. I am soaring in the sky like a bird, happy to be free and without a care, as I dart through clouds and enjoy the scenery below me, the scenery of Tuscany and Umbria.

2. The house is my home and it is located where it is now, in Garden City, New York.

3. 6:30 A.M.

4. My favorite kind of kitchen, our kitchen. It is white and very neat, and yet it has the look of a place where serious cooking and baking has been done. It has a bookcase of white wicker, filled with cookbooks. It is a very large kitchen and is able to accommodate a lot of people, eating and drinking and talking, as it frequently does. In other words, it is an Italian kitchen.

5. There are about 15 or so trees on the property. Oaks, sweetgums, maples, dogwoods, white pines, cherry, holly, and birch. I have a Druid's love of trees. Most are on the periphery of the property.

6. The bowl is very old, slightly cracked. It is a white porcelin with figures of flowers and animals in a Chinese style.

7. The key is one of those old large-toothed ones that would open a castle door or the old oaken door of an ancient stone house.

8. From my backpacking days, this answer is easy. The water is a fast flowing stream. The water is cold and crystal clear as it runs over polished stones on the stream bed. What do I do? What does any weary backpacker do? I take a drink from it. Then I take off my boots and sit on its bank, my feet in the water.

9. The wall is an old stone wall you would see in New England or in Ireland. Maybe it's 4 or 5 feet tall. What else is there to do when you come to it? I climb over it.

10. An open, sunlit field. In the distance is the forest. Before the tree line is a house, a small cottage.

Posted by MRJR at May 28, 2010 3:32 PM

Good game, Gerard! Thoroughly entertaining


1.) It's a warm, lazy afternoon and I am walking with someone down a shady country lane. I feel very safe and not rushed despite a nagging anticipation of reaching someplace wonderful.

2.) My house is in the US with staircases, and rooms everywhere. I don't live in this house; I'm just a visitor. And I am lost. The house is made of wood and it reminds me of structures built in the West at the beginning of the last century. The house has an ugly wooden porch and is not painted.

3.) It's night time.

4.) My kitchen is small. Utilitarian. With many cabinets and drawers. It's clean. There are no people in it.

5.)There are many tall leafy trees. There are beautiful Maples, and evergreens. Many have soaring branches. And many offer leafy shelter and places to hide.

6.) My bowl is round made of wood or clay. It fits into my 2 hands and I like to rub my hands into the center of it, and up its smooth sides.

7.) Metal. Simple. Quite large.

8.) I come upon a watering hole in the middle of an African savannah and I kneel down and splash my face and take a drink.

9.) My wall is made of concrete or stone but it is only waist high.
I step/crawl over it.

10.) On the other side, there are rolling hills, and leafy forests - it is a pleasing, comfortable and welcoming scenery.

Posted by Patty at May 28, 2010 3:39 PM

The body of water represents sexuality. What you do when you come up to it represents how you act on that sexuality.

I didn't see that coming.

As I told Andy, I couldn't answer the first question, it stumped me for a full day, so felt I didn't really play. I did answer the others in a quick manner and I'm pleased with the reflections they represent.

Nice one, Gerard.

Posted by Daphne at May 28, 2010 4:29 PM

Oh, but you did see that coming which is why you didn't answer it. We know all about you, the canoe, the ukulele, the full moon, the clear mountain lake, the lubricant, and the moose.

Posted by vanderleun at May 28, 2010 5:03 PM

Regarding Dust Bunny's question: "Is there any place that gives interpretations or do we just puzzle it out for ourselves?"

Answer: No and Yes. There is no "place" other than in your own understanding. My experience is, in giving the game to others, that they know what the interpretation is in an "Aha" moment, or that it comes to them with a little reflection.

Posted by vanderleun at May 28, 2010 5:09 PM

1) The dream that immediately presented itself is my most often recurring one: I am in the house we lived in when I was a child. I own it now and it seems much larger than it did as I wander from room to room. The outdoor property is larger, as well, with varied and interesting gardens. Owning the house completes a circle. My family of origin is there, at various ages, though I am an adult. While the rooms are recognizable as they were, they are now decorated differently.

2)The house is a small Arts and Crafts bungalow. It is in a small American town on a street lined with tall trees. It is furnished with Mission furniture and has a large library with a tiled fireplace and bookcases up to the ceiling. There are friezes along the painted walls, botanical area rugs, brasses, amber-shaded lamps and pottery vases.

3) 6:00 am. The sun is just rising and the birds are singing.

4) The kitched in compact, but complete. The counters and cabinets are of natural wood and the cabinets have glass fronts. There is a window looking out into the yard. The appliances are modern, but not modernistic. There is a breakfast nook. There are art reproduction postcards on the refrigerator and the wall. The colors are rust and green.

5) There are four large oaks along the parkway in front of the house. There is a mimosa tree in the backyard, shading the flagstone terrace.

6) The bowl is made of pottery. It has a light green glaze, with a design of leaves and insects in darker green around the inside of the bowl.

7) The key is an old-fashined brass key with a rounded open top and three bars. It is slightly tarnished from use.

8) A shallow river with a mossy rock bottom. I wash in the cool water.

9) The wall is made of mellowed antique red bricks. I walk along it, looking for a gate or door, admiring the sunlight on the rosy wall. There are little crannies in the wall in which small plants are growing.

10) On the other side of the wall is a beautiful estate with many kinds of gardens: flowers, orchards, vegetables and herbs. There are fountains and pools, as well.

I am struck by the similarity of some of my answers to Nahanni's. Intriguing.
That the answers to the game confirm many things that I was already pretty sure I knew about myself is especially interesting to me.
Thank you, Gerard, for posting this.

Posted by Sal at May 28, 2010 5:40 PM

My answer to the last question was also simply heaven.

It seemed odd to me but I went with it anyway, and now see that someone else had that as well.

Posted by Regular Lurker at May 28, 2010 5:54 PM

Yeah- that whole water/sex thing...
I shoulda' cheated.

Foetid swamp full of piranha fish, and vampires....

Didn't go over well with the wife.


Posted by jwm at May 28, 2010 8:48 PM


Yeah, I can see where the piranhas might get a little pinchy...

It's good to see your name again. I hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Posted by Julie at May 28, 2010 9:03 PM

Amazing. Loved it. It was uncanny.
Especially the time when I wake from the dream. Mid-day I said, just before dusk. Although it's my favorite time of the day I am middle aged.

And the key! I thought of a brass Roman barrel key. I'm Roman Catholic. The image that I thought of was the keys Christ gave Peter represented in the Vatican seal. Plus the Fleur-de-Lis, an ancient spiritual image, that to me represents Christ's Resurrection - the Easter Lily.

I could go on & on. I'm enjoying interpreting it even though some of my answers are a bit embarrassing.

Thank You. This couldn't have come at a better time for me and I can't wait to share it.

Posted by janet at May 28, 2010 10:48 PM

Don't tell me-- the author of this piece was high when he/she dreamed it up, then tried to rationalize the concepts while straight, eh?

Now, for a small fee, I can have the lines drawn connecting my answers with the author's concepts?

To quote Roy Scheider: "For experts, there's no toilet deep enough."

Posted by Richard Kinkead at May 29, 2010 5:30 AM

On the kitchen question:

"4) Fairly small. Neat and tidy."

If that doesn't answer the question sufficiently, by that I meant just a functional kitchen, nothing special.

Really interesting little game Vanderleun, thanks for sharing.

Posted by Ride Fast at May 29, 2010 8:24 AM

Must admit I kinda gasped at my answer to #10. I wrote, "I can't see over the wall."

Could someone tell me exactly what the deifinition for #3 means? It's not regsitering with me.

Thanks for the exercise. Interesting commments.

Posted by mike at May 30, 2010 8:23 AM

Just wanted to come back and check the answers again. I loved writing this out, and even though I had to get up earlier than usual Friday morning I set the alarm back a few extra minutes so that I would have time to check the answers.

My answers were so immediately obvious to me it is hard not to think that other answers are "wrong." I find myself smiling at how surprised I am at answers that were radically different from mine. Each person really is a work of art.

Since so many others posted their answers, I will add mine too.

1)Alone in an empty house at dusk wandering through rooms while the curtains blow and twilight falls
2) The house is a little white house on the New England coast
4) A quaint little blue country kitchen from the 1960’s. There is a little counter with stools and the coffee is already made.
5) The house is in the middle of a sunny yard. At each front corner of the yard are two or three pines. There is more vegetation- small trees and bushes- surrounding the back and side perimeter of the yard
6) Japanese pottery in earth tones- rust red, white, and black with a small crack running down one side.
7) A large heavy old-fashioned brass key, dulled and corroded by time.
8) It is an ocean cove. I swim.
9) The wall is a low stone wall, I jump on top of it and then hop down on the other side.
10) A bit of sand and then the limitless dark blue ocean.

Posted by AnneC at May 30, 2010 1:06 PM

Thanks, that was fun.
I'm sharing w/ friends, as we speak.

Posted by up late at May 31, 2010 6:48 AM

I was right— The Cube is a variant of this.

Incidentally, I couldn't answer the first question either. I have very vivid and detailed dreams, so the recollections of actual dreams kept intruding. But my bowl is largish, with a nice heft and pleasing curves, and it is tactile, pleasing to touch. Soft-sanded wood or burnished clay.

Posted by B. Durbin at June 7, 2010 9:06 PM

I enjoyed playing the game. Thank you, Gerald, for sharing it with us.

I agree that one can only play this game once in the naive fashion. However I don't regard one's answers to the questions as fixed. You can experiment with making changes. Try remodeling the house in your mind, if you like, and see how it feels. Try planting some trees closer to (or perhaps farther from) the house, or waking up at a different time, or changing some other aspect of your answers, and see what that is like. Tweak things until they feel more satisfying.

I believe (based on experience with things psychological) that if your original set of answers to the game strongly resonates within yourself, then the more likely making changes to those answers in your mind will result in changes in your life. It's a two-way street. (Be careful when applying this. Start with small changes and work your way up.)

Posted by Kurt at June 13, 2010 8:54 PM

Sorry, I should have said, "Thank you, Gerard."

Deepest apologies.

Posted by Kurt at June 13, 2010 8:58 PM

No apologies needed.

Thank you for your insights and reflections.

Posted by vanderleun at June 13, 2010 9:22 PM

Clocking in just over the 1,000 dollar mark (about $1,013) the next system is the highly acclaimed, award winning Alienware. This is perhaps why Dell offers up to a maximum of 8GB dual channel DDR3 running at 1066MHz.

Posted by at January 17, 2014 12:25 AM