Bunker with Truck, Marin Headlands | Mark Lindsay

In the bunker country of the Marin Headlands one comes across these concrete and metal protrusions. Not being an expert on bunkers and fortifications, I don’t know the proper name for these things. I do know that they frighten me. They suggest some kind of subterranean activity. A portal leading straight to hell.

One dares not go down into the world below these protruding contraptions. The imagination gives us all the imagery we need. By now they are padlocked or welded shut. Modern signs warn us to “Keep Off!” It seems that everyone is afraid to touch these things. Like old fears welded into our psyche, they are uncomfortable reminders of the past. They won’t go away. They can’t go away. Only time will wear them away and when they are gone, no one will be saddened by their demise. They are left on their own—padlocked nuisances.

No one seems to visit these things. I remember, as an adolescent, visiting the fortifications at Sandy Hook State Park in New Jersey. Our Boy Scout troop camped near them during a camping trip many years ago. Our scout master warned us to stay away from the bunkers. That, of course, compelled us to visit them. Some of the older scouts locked one of the younger kids inside a tomb-like fortification. He cried, practically wet himself over the fear. The older kids thought it was hilarious. The scout master found out and the entire troop was punished. The bunkers have the dark energy about them. They turned our troop outing into Lord of the Flies.

Maybe that scouting experience whet my appetite for the exploration of these old bunkers. Maybe I need to photograph them before they crumble away to nothing. Perhaps they remind me of the Bush Administration’s War on Terror. I can envision Dick Cheney living on one of these things, popping out to shoot birds. Relics of fear die hard. And they remind us a part of ourselves that we’d rather not know.