September 15th 2008
I dream of a huge barn, wooden, in a large dusty yard. Two sides have no walls and open directly onto the yard. The third side is walled, with a doorway in it. This leads to a flight of stairs up to a higher level: the only way out. The fourth side of the barn also has a wall, which has provisions and folding beds stacked up against it. This barn is actually a bunker, a nuclear shelter in case of a devastating emergency.
There are 167 chair-beds here: space for 167 souls. There is food, water and provisions. The spaces here are desperately sought after. There is competition. If the lucky chosen ones transgress any of the rules of the barn, they are killed on the spot by armed guards. To keep one’s place here one must give up basic freedoms.
In the yard, which is surrounded by high walls, there is a huge pile of felled trees. They have been stripped of their bark and they lie glistening like meat. The hugest trunk is lying on the very top of the pile. It is monstrously large and it is kept in place, propped horizontal, by tiny twigs. At any moment the twigs are bound to snap and the trunk to roll down taking the whole pile with it in an avalanche of moist red wood.
I am standing on top of the pile, on this hugest trunk propped up by twigs. I am looking over at the bunker-barn, as though I am a prisoner up against the fence looking back at a prison house. The sun is hot and blinding. There is no shade in the yard but I can see trees beyond.
Beyond the perimeter of the yard, people do not have bunkers or stockpiled provisions. There is scarcity, and fear of starvation. I am scared of starving. I am scared of being shot by robbers. So are the other 166 people in the bunker. That is why we have surrendered our freedoms. But I am very high up here on this woodpile by the fence. If I move very precisely perhaps I can make it up onto the wall. I stand, transfixed, appalled and held by the bleeding wood.