Dream of: 12 April 1996 "Don't You Feel So Isolated"

I was standing in the kitchen of a house, listening to one of my cousins talk. The cousin resembled my first cousin Randy, the son of my uncle Liston. The cousin looked as if he were in his mid 20s and seemed strong and energetic. However at the moment he was quite despondent and was bewailing some catastrophe which had befallen him. It wasn't entirely clear to me what had happened, but I thought it involved losing some land.

I quickly began talking to him, trying to cheer him up. I began telling him that all was not lost, and that it might be possible for him to obtain some more land. I then began talking to him about the Hubbard Farm (a hilly Farm of about 200 acres in Gallia County, Ohio). I knew that the Hubbard Farm was right next to my father's Farm, and that ever since old man Garner Hubbard had died a number of years ago, the Hubbard Farm had been left to grow wild. I also knew both the Hubbard Farm and the Farm were almost completely surrounded by miles of national forest, making the whole area wild and isolated.

I now suggested to my cousin that it might be possible for him to buy the Hubbard Farm. I knew it would be difficult for him, but I pointed out how he could go to the Hubbard Farm, climb up on the hills and get away from everything. I could see that my talk was having a soothing effect on my cousin, and I could tell he was thinking of what it would be like to go out there in the woods and climb around the wild hills. I myself began contemplating the scene, envisioning myself going up into the hills.

***

I was at the base of a large mountain. I didn't actually see the mountain, but I knew it was there. I seemed to be inside a rustic wooden building, but I also seemed outside, because I could see snow all around me. I could also see many people gathering around, who like me, had all come to this spot for one reason: we were going to climb the mountain together.

I didn't know anyone else there, and I thought that was probably part of the plan. Although I thought we would all be climbing as a group, I thought we would all remain alone and somewhat isolated, never really getting to know each other well or becoming friends. However as I looked around at the other people who had gathered, I saw someone I recognized. It was a woman who resembled Rebecca Howe (the character played by the actress Kirstie Alley in the television series "Cheers").

I walked over and began talking with her. Although I thought each person would remain alone on the trip up the mountain, as I began talking with her I quickly felt close to her, as if we communicated so well together and as if we both enjoyed each other's company. I soon began to feel that I might have been wrong in my earlier thoughts of remaining completely alone on the trek, and that the woman and I might form a close relationship.

I talked with her about what we could expect. I knew it was going to be an arduous trip, and I complained that we should have been able to bring skis, or perhaps even snow shoes, so we could move around more easily once we were up on the mountain. I envisioned how that once we were up there, we would be more or less stuck in one place, unable to move about freely. I knew that that was actually part of the reason we were taking the trip, to be somewhere where we wouldn't be able to move around a lot. But I still complained, "Don't you feel so isolated when you're up there? I mean, you can't go anywhere."

The woman seemed to agree with what I was saying. She appeared nervous at the prospects of the upcoming trip, and seemed glad that she had found someone to talk to and be with. I felt the same way.

As we continued to talk and the people continued to mill around us, I noticed someone else whom I knew sitting not far from us. As I focused in on him I realized he was sitting in a wheelchair. He was a thin, black-haired fellow in his early 20s who resembled Roy Dillon (the character played by the actor John Cusak in the movie The Grifters).

Immediately realizing I needed to talk with the fellow, I asked the woman to excuse me, and I walked away from her over to him. I reached him and stood in front of him facing him. I immediately saw why he was in the wheelchair: his left leg had been cut off just above the knee. He was wearing pants, but it looked as if the stump of his leg were bandaged with white cloth bandages, and as if the leg had only recently been lost.

Around his neck was a small chain which was attached to a white card hanging on his chest. I glanced at the card and saw that it contained writing – a request for money, several thousand dollars. I immediately understood the import of the card. The man was asking for money so he could also make the trip up the mountain. I knew the trip up the mountain wasn't free, and I now saw that the man apparently didn't have the money to pay his way.

Although I thought the man had himself been responsible for the loss of his leg, I also felt some responsibility. I thought that in some way my cousin had contributed to the loss of the leg, although the role of my cousin wasn't clear to me. By implication, since my cousin had been involved, I felt in some way responsible.

However I didn't feel any guilt. I thought the man was cold and calculating, that he really didn't care about anyone else, and that it was in poor taste for him to come here now and beg for money for the trip up the mountain.

Seeing me in front of him, he stood up on his one leg in front of his wheelchair so that our faces were only a few centimeters from each other. We were almost the exact same height and our eyes seemed on a level with each other. He looked straight at me and began talking.

Although it was clear that he likewise knew something about me, he was clearly unsure exactly who I was. And I didn't know if he was aware of my slight sense of responsibility for the loss of his leg. What was however clear to me, as he continued to talk, was that he was only interested in one thing: trying to get me to give him some money so he could go on the trip up the mountain. He didn't come right out and say he was asking me for money, but it was completely obvious to me.

It was also obvious to me that I had no intention of giving him any money. In fact I was only repulsed that he would be asking me. I abruptly cut him off and plainly told him that he could stop talking because I wasn't going to be able to help him by giving him any money. He made an ugly grimace which said that if that was the way I felt, then there was no point in carrying on the conversation any further with me. But before he sat back down, I said, "I feel sorry for you. I know you don't want my pity, but that's how I feel."

I turned from him and walked away. I intended to go back to the woman, but I saw that she was now standing with a small group of other people, talking with them. I walked past the group, thinking I might say something to invite her to walk with me. But I thought it best not to bother her, and I walked past, uncertain whether I should interrupt her. I trudged on alone through the snow, beginning to think that I would be alone on the trip after all. And maybe that was the way it was supposed to be. Maybe the whole purpose of the trip was for everyone to be alone.

But then I stopped and looked back again toward the small group where the woman was. To my happy surprise, she had left the group and was hastening toward me through the snow. In a flash it was clear that she wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with her. As I watched her walk up to me, I realized we somehow both understood each other quite well, and that we had picked each other out to be with on the trip. I immediately felt much better about the trip, and was even beginning to have a more optimistic feeling about why I was taking it.

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