Reminders of everyday fortunes

Years ago I was lost. I wasn’t sure where I was. My car was crashed against the concrete abutment of a railroad bridge that crossed over the road at the bottom of the hill. It seemed that there was someone in it that needed an ambulance, but I couldn’t recall who, or why, or whether there was really anyone injured or not.

Overcome with vagueness, I was looking for help. It was neither day nor night, I couldn’t tell. Everything was shrouded in what seemed like an eternal twilight. A pale gloom hung in the air.

There was no moon, and no shadows from the trees. The overcast gray clouds were so heavy that little light could penetrate. The ground was covered with a layer of old snow. It appeared more like cobwebs on the ground than snow. It reflected what little light there was to make things visible. Everything seemed musty and ghostly, as though there were no humans anywhere. It was an atmosphere of meaninglessness. There was no light, no dark, no shadows, no emotion, just my presence, for no purpose except to find someone or something.

I wandered down a path to what seemed to be sort of a tool shed away from the nearby house. It was the closest building to me as I came to the top of the hill. It was ramshackle and unpainted. The gray weather-beaten door hung ajar by one one rusty hinge. Inside there was no sign of life, just moldy, rusty, cobweb covered old plows, tractor wheels and such.

I turned to go to the house which showed little promise of offering help. It looked as if no one had lived in it for many years. There were broken boards in the porch floor, and dangling shutters hung from the walls at the sides of the windows ready to fall completely. The windows did not reveal anything inside the house. There wasn’t enough light. I knocked, which seemed senseless, and after waiting a few minutes, I opened the unlocked door and entered. I walked through an unfurnished room or two. The place was musty, but I was thinking that it would offer shelter from the weather until we could get our bearings. Two of my small children were now beside me. The shelter of the house would be some help. Then as we stood in the arched entrance of a large living room with a high ceiling which went up to the roof, one whole wall suddenly came crashing in. It was as if a huge army tank had pushed it in. The room was flooded with a bright light, and in the space left by the walls collapse stood a huge, ravenous, evil, ogre-type monster, roaring, drooling, and eyeing us lustfully. It was horrifying. I held my children closer to my side and cried, “Oh God, save us!”

I awoke! Yes I immediately awoke to a beautiful morning with my loving wife still asleep by my side. The sun tumbled through the windows past the light curtain that wafted in the spring breeze. It pranced around the room, welcomed and and magnified by the cream colored walls of our bedroom, which reflected the glory of such a morning sun.

The light breeze which accompanied the sun through the open windows carried with it the scents of the new spring, and the promise of a glorious day becoming itself. I truly felt deliverance, and said a morning prayer of thanks. I rejoiced in the beauty of my newfound reality. How easy it was to end that horrifying experience, by simply waking up to reality.

It makes one wonder, how many of our problems are caused by our mindset, our habits of thought, and manufactured by our fears and fancies. How many of our problems could easily be solved, if we would only wake up to the true reality of our lives. The forgoing dream occurred to me many many years ago, but has had a presence in my memory, with its apparent moral, ever since. May God bless America.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to