In this dream I am amongst many people. Pressed together, we are jumbled, anxious, held back, penned in, all looking up from behind some invisible barrier towards a cloud-veiled forested mountaintop. Something dreadful is taking place inside the cloud. I am desperate to get up there, to stop the atrocity, to stop the forest inside the cloud being destroyed. Suddenly apprehension gives way to action and I’m scrambling along with all the others, up the loggers’ path, the wet earth red and slippery beneath our stampeding feet.
On either side of the path there are private homes with neatly manicured gardens. The residents stand on their lawns, watching the tide of people rushing past. A man tuts and scowls his disgust as my foot slips on the edge of his lawn and scuffs the grass.
It is unbearably humid.
Up the slope, behind a fence, the forest begins. To get into its dark humid centre one must pass through a tiny wooden gate. We stream through it and discover a steep stairway up up up to the heart of the wood.
There are fewer of us now. I clamber breathless past grand trees, buttress-rooted, epiphyte-laden. The climb is sickeningly steep. The stairway turns into a flight of stairs inside a hotel built into the mountain. Sudden claustrophobia. White walls. Many closed doors. I am looking for whoever is in charge. I open door after door until I find a room in which there are two old men at a long table covered in opulent food. One sits, tucking his napkin into his collar, the other stands at his shoulder.
“Please, spare the forest. You must stop killing the trees,” I tell them.
The standing man says to the other, “You must not look at her. Do not make eye contact. Do not listen to her.”
They continue with their eating while I stand in the doorway, my heart in my throat, wanting to kill them.