Dream of: 14 January 1997 "Wolves"

I was sitting in the living room of the Gallia County Farmhouse, thinking of my interest in astronomy. I had been trying to visualize the Milky Way galaxy, trying to obtain a better idea of where the Milky Way was in relation to other galaxies. To achieve this, I was beginning with the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy.

Since I knew the Milky Way galaxy was basically flat and round, I picked up a white plate and laid it on the floor, intending the plate to represent the Milky Way galaxy. In my hand I held a second white plate, which I intended to represent the Andromeda galaxy. Now I needed to figure out exactly where to hold the second plate, so I could have an idea of how far the two galaxies were from each other.

Fortunately, I had some idea of how to do this. I knew the distance of the Andromeda galaxy from the Milky Way galaxy was approximately 20 times the diameter of the Milky Way galaxy. In other words, in my little model, the Andromeda galaxy plate would be a distance of about 20 plates from the Milky Way galaxy plate. All I had to do was measure a distance of 20 plates and I could get a picture of how far the galaxies were from each other.

Using the plates was extremely helpful in order to see more clearly the relationship between the two galaxies. Of course I didn't yet know in which direction the Andromeda was from the Milky Way – I only knew the distance. And I didn't know how the Andromeda plate should be turned – flat, on its side, at an angle? – in relation to the Milky Way. But these were all questions for which I could find the answers.

As I was thinking about this, my sister and my mother walked into the room. They were having a conversation, and as I listened to them, I realized they were saying that my father was angry about something. When I listened further, it appeared they were saying my father was angry at me. I joined in their conversation, and made a nasty remark about my father. As soon as I had spoken, however, a figure passed by on the outside of the big picture window of the living room, and I realized my father had been standing outside and had overheard what I had said.

Before he could come inside, I walked out onto the back porch and met him. Clearly he was angry about something; I needed a few minutes to figure out what. I finally realized his anger had something to do with his 1988 Lincoln Continental, which I had driven up to the Farm, and which was sitting beside the Farmhouse. Apparently my father had intended to either give or sell me the car, but I didn't want it. This in turn had infuriated him, and he was now venting his anger.

As we talked, something else caught my attention. While I was looking at my father, I stared past him, over his shoulder, down to the big field behind the Farmhouse – several brown animals were in the field. At first I thought they were large rabbits, and I wondered if Picasso and Chaucer were in the Farmhouse. If the dogs were in the House, they would love to come out here and chase the rabbits.

Looking more closely at the animals in the field, however, I realized they appeared to be larger than rabbits. At first they reminded me of a large rodent-like animal. But finally I realized the animals were actually large gray wolves, about a dozen of them. By this time, Picasso and Chaucer had come outside, and I was afraid the dogs might run down to the wolves and be killed. Or worse yet, I was afraid the wolves would ascend to the house and attack the dogs, or even members of my family. I hurried back into the house and came back out with a shotgun.

By the time I had returned, my fears had been realized, for the wolves were already up to the back porch. The wolves seemed completely unafraid of us, and I was uncertain whether they were an actual threat. I couldn't take any chances, however, and when my father told me to fire, I pointed my gun at one of the wolves and shot it in the side. I immediately regretted my action, for I feared I might have seriously injured the wolf, and I didn't want to do that – I had thought the pellets from the shotgun would merely sting the wolf. But the shot had proven much more powerful than I had expected. The wolf scampered away before I was able to tell how badly it had been injured. I felt bad. I had always thought I liked wolves. The thought that I might have seriously injured one was disturbing.

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