Finding Something

I used to live five minutes from a locked gate that I presumed, ridiculously, belonged to the army. Not any actual military organisation with soldiers and barracks and Whatsapp groups and a HR department but the sort of nebulous, conceptual version of the army that exists when you’re a child and is always on the other side of rusted spiky walls.

Yesterday, while going somewhere else and for old times’ sake, I chanced a glance (because it felt like I shouldn’t be looking) and sure enough wasn’t the gate wide open with a newly-revealed tunnel just beyond. 

If I’ve a photography motto, a photto if you like, it’s that I don’t want to endure the burden of regret. I’m not talking NO REGRETS in a calligraphic font like the kind sensitive hardmen commit to skin. I’m talking risking having to explain myself to a stranger from the business end of a CCTV stream so I don’t have to come home wishing I’d hopped that fence just to see what it looked like looking back.

Through and beyond the tunnel I discovered the following. Satisfyingly it’s not identified at all on Google Maps and, coupled with the unforgettable image of earthy mists of fine soil borne aloft by the breeze, I really felt like I found something otherworldly yesterday. There wasn’t another person in sight and sight ran the stretch of horizon for miles side to side. At one stage, a ten-wheeled red and chrome megalith kicked a cloud of dust towards me and rumbled off around a dune and gone, its driver never once glimpsed.

Haste the price paid to trespassing, my car appears in some of these shots but if I’d had the time to rearrange reality around me to change what I was pointing at it would belie the truth - I shouldn’t have found this place at all.


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