A forest dark

Away from the tents that are scattered along the fringes of the Bois des Vincennes, Paris’ largest park and close to the ring road that surrounds the city, one can find other places where people have decided to spend the night. As the leaves begin to fall and the trees find their skeletal shape again, some odd structures begin to emerge.

The slightly flattened grass leading from one of the small paths attracted my attention. It led to a makeshift shelter made entirely out of leaves and tree branches, resembling a wild animals’s lair. No one was around, and oddly enough, nor would I ever see anyone in or near these hideouts. There was not a whisper, except the constant humming of the nearby motorway. Bottles and cigarette butts littered the scene indicating that there had been life present only recently. Discarded toiletpaper and plastic bags blown onto tree branches.

At first I thought that these hideouts were the work of recalcitrant adolescents, playful youths in accordance with their age, but I realised quickly enough that this was not the case. This was more desperate and urgent, content with even the flimsiest protection against the harsh elements. It surpassed the existential youthful crisis of not wanting to fit in with the option to conform to life’s many demands later. More hopeless too, because there is no turning back from this point on, I imagine. A sentiment of pre-burial while living on a ground that will absorb you later, polluting its soil with the bitter remnants of a troubled life . The more I walked around the massive park, the more my images became autobiographical, depicting and questioning my own doubts and fears as I take stock of my life and experiences so far. To see what happens when it all fails.

“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.”

Dante, The Divine Comedy