Dream of: 29 March 1995 "Refuge"

My wife Carolina and I were skiing down the side of a beautiful, snow-covered mountain. As we zigzagged back and forth across the fresh snow, I noticed no other ski tracks in the snow, and although we were on a public ski slope, there were no other skiers. I had never been on a slope with no one else around, and the feeling of being alone in this wonderland intensified the pleasure. Only when we reached the bottom of the slope did I see ski tracks; but they weren't fresh and were almost covered over by new snow.

Although we had reached the bottom of the slope, we were still high in the mountains. Towering up right next to us was a beautiful mountain which seemed to be made completely of snow. Would it melt in the springtime? Could the mountain be climbed? Its sides were rough and jagged, and although made of snow, it had precipitous cliffs and overhanging ledges. What would it be like to climb? I was no mountain-climber, but the thought of trying to climb that particular mountain was certainly intriguing. When I asked Carolina whether she thought it was possible, she seemed dubious. Only an expert mountain climber could tackle that mountain.

Although several buildings made of rough brown wood were in the area, I didn't see any people – except for one fellow. He was a black man (probably in his 30s) dressed in green fatigues. He was standing next to one of the buildings, looking down at the ground, apparently trying to climb up a snowy slope on which the building sat. After observing him for a short while, I finally concluded he might be demented. He seemed involved in some repetitive behavior out of which he couldn't free himself.

I had the urge to urinate, and since no one else was around, I decided I would just do it right outside. I walked over near some kind of vehicles, and just as I was about to begin, I heard voices. I looked up and saw three skiers coming wildly down the slope. Embarrassed, thinking they might have seen me, I walked to a wooden outhouse only a few feet away. I had to go through two doors, but finally made it to the commode.

When I came back out of the outhouse, the three skiers had reached the bottom of the slope. They looked as if they might be in their 20s – two men and a woman. They didn't have skies, but some kind of stiff, red cloth which they would sit down on and slide. I had never seen anything like it and I wondered whether it worked well. They walked off in another direction; I had the feeling they were taking a lift to another slope. Were the lifts working? Since I hadn't seen any other people, I had thought the lifts weren't working, but now I began to think the lifts probably were working.

I walked back over to Carolina and suggested we take a break. There was a bus which took people down to a town where they could have a meal. We decided to go. I walked in the direction where the bus was and when I saw it, I hurried up and jumped in. It was a mini bus with only ten or twelve people plus the driver in it. We quickly pulled out and were on our way. Only after we had traveled a ways down the road did I suddenly realize Carolina wasn't on the bus.

I was very upset. I couldn't believe I could have just gone off and left her alone up there on the ski slope. Since this was the only bus to the town, what would she do? I thought about getting out, but that would also not be a good idea, because we were already so far from the slope, it would be too hard to walk back up. Carolina would just have to make her way back to our hotel and wait for me there. I could see that I was now not going to have a good time in town, but I would just have to go ahead.

As we traveled the road off the mountain, below us in the valley I could see the skyscrapers of a large city. Since we were in Colorado, I thought the city might be Boulder, although I wasn't certain Boulder had such tall skyscrapers. Realizing how close the city was, I wondered if I had made a mistake and gotten onto the wrong bus. Was this the bus that went to the city to take people and drop them off, or was this the bus that made runs to town for food breaks? It seemed everything was getting messed up.

Plus, it suddenly occurred to me that I had left my skis back on the mountain, and I wasn't even sure where I had left them. Had I left them in the outhouse? Or had I left them standing outside somewhere? They weren't even my skis. I had rented them using a credit card. That meant that if I didn't return them, I would be charged the full price for them on my credit card. If I couldn't make it back to the slope, perhaps someone who worked at the ski resort could go up and get the skis for me, but I doubted that.

At least the view from the bus was beautiful, with pine-covered mountains all around me, and a view of the valley below. But much of the wilderness was being lost to the ski resorts. The federal government liked to sell land to the ski resorts because the ski resorts paid back so much money in taxes to the government from the operation of the resorts.

But my mind was more occupied with where the bus was going to stop – the city or the town? Finally we pulled into a small, quaint town and parked. I thought we clearly must be going to stay here only for a short while and return, but just to be sure, as we were getting off the bus, I asked the driver. He said we would be returning at five twenty-five. I looked at my watch, which looked as if it said six thirty already. I asked again, and he said we would be returning at five twenty-five. Since he seemed in a hurry, I got off the bus. When I looked at my watch again, it said four thirty, not six thirty. That made sense. We would be leaving in about an hour.

I looked out on the street. It was a pretty little town with many interesting small shops in it, but I felt depressed. This was the kind of place I would have enjoyed visiting with Carolina. I only wished she were with me; I was going to have a miserable time without her. I wasn't even hungry.

As I started walking down the street, I felt the wind blowing my long hair. I pulled my hair back around behind my head in a pony tail, and began trying to put a rubber band around it. But I couldn't seem to get it right. One time when I did get the rubber band around it, the pony tail was pulled too much to one side and I had to take it off. Finally, on top of everything, the rubber band broke. Just one more hassle. Now my hair was blowing in my eyes, making it hard to see.

I stepped into a building for refuge. I found myself in a small room, about four meters wide and seven meters long. At the end of the room where I had come in was a television sitting on a stand. At the other end, toward which I walked, was a large open window which covered almost the whole wall. I had the feeling that this room was inside a church, and that people could come here to rest, meditate or pray. A dining table and chairs were set up in the middle of the room.

When I reached the window, I sat on the ledge and looked outside. I didn't really see anything, although it looked as if the window gave onto an inner courtyard. I felt peaceful. I could just sit here for a while and collect my thoughts. I looked down into my right hand and saw that I was holding part of my pony tail in it. I realized that before coming into the room, I had taken a pair of scissors and cut off the pony tail. The hair in my hand was quite beautiful. It was straw-colored and thicker than normal hair.

I remembered I had had a bitter argument with my father over having long hair. He had vehemently opposed it, but I had grown it long anyway. Now here I was holding my cut-off pony tail in my hand. I tossed it into a bucket sitting outside the window. My hair was still long, falling to my shoulders, and it was still bothering me by falling in my eyes. I tried to pull it behind my ears, but it kept falling back.

Just as I was beginning to feel at peace, a man walked into the other end of the room where the television was. He was wearing a black hat, had a dark beard and mostly black clothes. He spoke to me with a foreign accent in his voice. Although I couldn't clearly understand what he said, I felt he was asking why I was there. He probably worked for the church and wanted me to leave. But he seemed to quickly lose interest in me and he turned on the television. Perturbed that he was disturbing the tranquility of the room, I began to think he didn't work for the church at all, but that he was a homeless person who had simply come here to get off the street.

Several other people walked into the room. They all looked rather bedraggled and also seemed homeless. Some children even came in and began running around on the floor. Seeing my place of refuge irretrievably ruined, I stood and walked out.

Outside the wind was still blowing. My hair was in my eyes and I could barely see. I couldn't get my hair to stay behind my ears. All I could do now was wait for the bus, which I hoped would be leaving soon.

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