I have been working for my father since I have graduated from college. I have a wife and two children, the oldest of which is a girl, Somehow I felt that there was something missing in my life and I did not know what it was.
During this time I was having problems with my job. Linda, my wife, suggested I leave my job and go back to school to get my teaching certification so I could teach high school. She knew my calling was teaching. I wasn’t sure that being a teacher was the right thing for me. Whenever I have problems that I cannot solve by myself, I know I need help. So when I go to bed at night, I spend the first few moments, before sleep overcomes me, praying to God (The Boss). I laid out the problem to him, along with all the steps that I had done to solve the problem. I told Him that I could not solve it by myself so I was turning this problem over to Him. By this time I was unable to stay awake and went to sleep. This prayer was answered several weeks later by a story given to me while I was sleeping. I woke up when the story was completed and went downstairs to write it down. If I did not write it down I would have forgotten it when I awoke in the morning. This is what I wrote.
I was in a northern farmhouse during a winter storm. I awoke in the morning to find a blizzard raging outside. I had to go out to the barn to do my daily chores such as milking the cow. We had a rope line attached between the house and the barn for just such an emergency. I could leave the house and get to the barn by holding and following the line so the storm did not bother me too much, but it was discussed over breakfast. I dressed for the weather, went outside found the line and began walking to the barn. A very large blast of wind pushed me to the side and I fell, but held on to the line as it was life itself. I thought if I let go, I would die as you couldn’t see anything but snow and in a storm all sense of direction would be lost. I rested for a minute, then got up and started to follow the line but it did not feel right. So I stopped and began to bring the line toward me hand over hand and the line came until I was holding it’s broken end. I was bothered but I was still attached to the house, so still holding the line, I began walking back to the house following the line. The line went limp in my hand I stopped and began to bring the line toward me until I was holding the other broken end. I was in a blinding snowstorm with my safety line in my hands and no sense of where the house and barn were. I was in deep trouble. I couldn’t just begin to walk because if I did I would probably walk in a circle or worse. I could walk into the middle of nowhere. I thought that if I stayed where I was and waited the storm out, I could find my direction and get back to the house. So I created a space around me in the snow so I wouldn’t be sitting on the cold snow. To get protection from the wind, I sat down and prayed to “The Boss” for help. After I what seemed to be hours with no lessening of the storm, I was very cold and in need of water. I decided that I had to do something. As I began to get to my feet, the largest black wolf that I have ever seen materialized out of the snowstorm. He was the finest specimen of an alpine wolf I had ever seen, a male of about 4 years of age. His eyes were yellow with a deep brown iris. As we looked at each other it seemed as if the wolf could see into my soul. My first thought was fear, this animal was going to take my life, but as I looked into his eyes my fear began to disappear. I seemed to be frozen until the wolf opened his mouth and took hold of my left arm and pulled me to my feet. He led me this way for a while when suddenly a small shed materialized out of the storm. I was led to the backside of this shed and under the steps leading to the attic was a sheltered place away from the wind and snow. I was pushed into the sheltered area under the steps where I saw many young baby animals. There were squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, fox babies, wolf babies, coyote babies, and baby birds all gathered together in order to get out of the storm. No adult’s animals were present. I turned to the wolf and he was gone. It was as if he never was there in the first place. It seemed as if my job was to take care of these baby orphans.
Then I awoke from my dream to find my wife sitting on the side of my bed. We discussed the meaning behind my dream. This eventually led to my resignation from my fathers business and my enrollment at The U of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point to get my teaching credentials. I found a job at Antioch Community High School the same year that my youngest son, John Morgan, was born. It seems that in Jesus’ time he sent his disciples out to preach to preach the word in Antioch.
In my 25th year at Antioch, I had another wolf dream. I was northern Wisconsin in the springtime, the snow had just recently left the ground. As I was taking my five- mile daily walk, I saw way out in the distance a bird, high in the sky flying in circles. It seemed as if the bird was staying in the same place. I started to look at the ground under where the bird was circling. This circling movement by the bird usually meant that something was dead or dying on the ground. On a small hill in the distance, I saw a large gray shape lying on the ground near the top of the hill. As I got closer the shape on the ground looked more like a big dog.
I moved off the path and hiked uphill toward the animal. As I got to the closer to the animal, I was able to see that it was an old animal because its hair was a light gray and there was also white hair on the muzzle. As I reached the animal, I recognized it as a large gray wolf. I wondered if this was the wolf that came to me in a dream many years ago. I walked around to the front and knelt down in front of the animal and recognized it as my dream wolf. I would have known those eyes anywhere. The wolf did not seem to be breathing. When I touched the wolf, the fur and body felt cold. I sat down on the ground and looked at the animal for the longest time wondering what I should do. I lifted the head put it in both my hands took a deep breath, closed my eyes and slowly exhaled my breath into the nostrils of the animal whose head I held in my hands. When I opened my eyes, I was looking into opened yellow eyes with a deep brown iris. This was without a doubt the wolf of my dreams, eyes I could never forget. The words “why did you do that” were spoken in my mind, this stunned me: animals do not speak to humans. When I got my wits about me I answered the question that was put to me. A long time ago you gave me a life and a job to do now it is my turn to give life back. I do not remember if I spoke these words or thought them. At that, I woke up and later in the morning discussed the meaning with my wife of 35 years. We never did agree what this dream meant.
Fast Forward, after 32 years of teaching, my wife and I decided to retire in June 2003
copyright © 2014 James M. Curtis