31 January 2010
Mission City - II - The Tunnels of UT
I am copying and pasting something I wrote a while back. I don't like the prose, so I may re-write it. I seem to recall struggling with the verb tense and trying to focus on action rather than setting.
My friend and I did not actually enter the UT tunnels. I never had been down there when this mission came to me. I have been down since, when I worked at UT doing accounting. I was helping some co-workers move some items into storage down in the tunnel system, and went down just to see if it looked anything like what I relate below. Yep.
Also, consider the complexity of this story (and there is a lot of detail I intend to include when I have more time) as compared to those first sinple images I had as a young boy. To me, it appears AS IF those simple, repetitive images were simply to acclimate me to the vision dream-- As if being gently led as appropriate for my age and understanding.
Here is what I wrote some time back:
A friend, John, and I were on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Neither of knew why we were there, but my friend seemed to be waiting for me to explain and do something about it. There was an anxiety with us—a strong sense of being hunted. Neither of us knew how or why we were in jeopardy, but we each knew we were in danger, that we were being hunted, and that we were never sure if the strangers passing by were aware of our situation or part of the cause.
In fact, we had no idea how anyone in Austin could even know or care who we were, much less, have any cause for causing us harm—yet we knew it was so.
It was dusk—a warm spring or summer evening. The part of the campus where we had found ourselves was old and attractive in architecture and landscaping. It was evenly lit, for a time, by the vesper light and the contributing glow of street lamps and the office lights in the windows. For a moment, there was a sense of peace. Perhaps it was a sense of accomplishment and time for a brief rest.
It was, or it least it was as if, I had no idea of any specifics of what had transpired before, but in this time of relief, I was for the first time able to take stock, and do a bit of thinking. All I had to go by was that I was on a mission, it was dangerous, and how and why I came to this point did not matter—nor did it matter that I could not have given a reason why I had to do what I knew I had to do—I only knew I was resolved to do what I could not explain or justify—and knew it was very dangerous. Nothing in my life had ever been like this—I was living in the moment, I was acting on something powerful without the slightest idea why I was so easily—even dismissively-- complicit.
We sat across the un-trafficked street from a shorter building than most around us. It was a warm dark brown, with pleasantly proportioned windows—each with the nicest sort of louvered wooden blinds with thin slats. Perhaps we ate and drank a snack, as we sat there on the curb looking at the building. John said something to me and I answered. Whatever we did and said didn’t matter at this point—we were focused on the mission, and waiting. College students and few older persons walked past. We were vigilant and conscious that we needed to appear relaxed, calm and ordinary despite feeling increasingly out of the ordinary, under stress, and anxious.
Now and then, someone would pass by and would look a little too long and (not knowing one or the other of us were paying attention) speak conspiratorially to another by passer. We noticed. In whatever amount of time passed from that late sunset until dark, we witnessed this threat about five times. Those persons behaving in such ways, also looked stressed and unsure, yet walked with some measure of confidence. In my mind, I saw them as spies, for that is what I knew them to be. I had expected to see them, but what I had not expected was that these hunters seemed more afraid of us—as if they knew that they were not in control. I took some confidence in that. Until seeing how the spies reacted to us, I was not able to find some hope of even being able to begin the mission. A tiny bit of confidence crept in plus there was the knowledge that it really did not matter. We would do what we were there to do no matter what—there were no choices. This allowed my mind to focus again on the moment and I dismissed the doubts, the dread, and any other feeling which distracted me.
One of the blinds in the lower office—the office on the corner, quietly and slowly rose a few inches, and then a desk lamp was turned on. It glowed with a dim incandescent bulb, and the deep wood tones of the room gave the whole window a yellow brown glow, almost like candlelight does. It was inviting. In fact, it may have been an invitation. No one noticed any of this except John and me. Good.
John and I stood up, stretched our legs, and wordlessly walked across the street toward the brick building. The step up from the curb was a high one, as the manicured and lush St. Augustine grass had such thick roots that it had risen, over the years, to three or four inches over the curb height. It was so neatly edged that the lawn crew must have been there earlier in the day. A row of small bushes formed a hedge close to the curb. It was an easy step over them, but awkward in that it was likely to attract notice.
The grass was wet. Just beyond the hedgerow, the ground sloped steeply down to the foundation of the building. Descending carefully so as not to slip, we could see down into the window, looking at a neat wooden desk with two or three loose sheets of paper on the center and the chair empty. We came to the window and stood there, peering in.
I don’t know about John, but I was expecting to see something—a sign, a clue, anything that would suggest to me what to do—perhaps explain the mission. I stood there with a sense of “now what?” long enough to take in the beauty of the office—traditional, warm woods, clean, inviting, many books, neat, a desk ready for the next task, a sheet of white, yellow, and pastel green paper, the colored sheets were half-sheet size, the desk lamp with the green half-cylinder globe, the bowed slats of the desk chair, the darkness at the back of the office beside the floor-to-ceiling shelves of books. John tapped me on my side with back of his hand as he turned from the window and quietly said, “Let’s go.”
We went to our right, walking southward around the side of the building reaching an entrance which, for some reason, I cannot recall in any detail. It occurs to me in hind sight, that there were times when I mystically knew what to do, and in those times my feelings were cut off, but my senses heightened, acutely aware of the dangers, and only nominally aware that I was participating in carrying forward the mission by every little thing, each step, each turn; and all was occurring in cooperation. I never felt controlled, but rather it was closer to an intuitive knowledge of what to do and where to go that simply felt “right.” By “right” I mean in the moral sense, “right” as in good and virtuous. That is the cause, I suppose, of the complicitness by which I acted: I knew I was participating with good.
Moreover (although that was sufficient for me) was that I also was aware that the spies, those who presented the danger to us, were cooperating with something evil. As we entered the building, we were unseen, and we knew it. It is possible and reasonable to assume that the spies were at least as aware as we were, and in seeing us waiting for darkness, had done what they were tasked to do. However, I had no such consideration in the moment.
John and I went inside, and somehow found ourselves in the basement. A steel door represented the place we were to go, and we found the door unlocked and passed through. We went down the underground passage with enough light in places to see our steps, and followed the twists and turns for several minutes.
Something happened down there-- a climax of the Mission of which we were a part. I only have a sense of that action—the life and death struggle, the awareness of mortal danger yet with no sense of panic, no anxiety—it was like finding oneself in battle with too little time to consider actions and acting out of intuition in combat. Perhaps it was not like that but was exactly that. I truly remember nothing but incomplete thoughts: Descending deeper into the tunnels, encountering an unseen foe, a desperate battle of two against many.
Hours passed, and I have the impression that I was very tiered and weary, and I know there were times when I wondered how I had the strength to continue.
We both seemed amazed that we were more or less fit to continue. Not a word was spoken. I continued south in the tunnel and after a turn one way and then back, saw the gray of dawn before us.
As we stepped to the light, we realized that the tunnel did not naturally open to the outside, but rather, the ground had been torn away from where the tunnel once led. We stepped to the edge, and saw that it opened from the side of enormous crater. Outside we could see what remained of the city. Before us, to the right, the capitol dome had partially collapsed just at the edge of the far side of the crater, many buildings lay in ruins, the sides closest to the crater stripped so that the buildings had been bisected, laid open vertically—all the floors exposed. The Oklahoma City bombing of the federal building was like that. Although this vision took place in 1977, the image of the Murrow building laid open was a microcosm of what lay at the far rim of the crater.
Only to the east was the crater’s rim without sign of devastation—toward the cemetery as the rim seemed to end just about where IH 35 once existed there at MLK. Below the rim, as we scanned the devastation, we could see that layers and layers of tunnels had been exposed by the removal of the ground, violently torn into. So dense were the tunnels opening into the crater, that they, too, had the appearance of an office building with its walls stripped away.
What John and I took in was the surprising extent of the underground tunnel system now exposed—the entire city—at least between the University campus and the State offices-- had been crisscrossed with these secret places where so much evil dwelt. We stepped out toward the east, and climbed upwards as best we could-- traveling eastward as we ascended. There were others about—almost all in pairs. Everyone had the look of a smile about to appear on their faces, as well as looks of wonder and gratitude. All of us were making our way to the original ground level—the rim of the crater.
When John and I reached the grass, the gray misty morning was brightening and we again found ourselves resting on lush green grass. There was no debris—all that had been destroyed lay inside the crater. We began to listen to others who had come to the surface—some before us and some just joining us. There were statements shared by all of us to the effect that we had made it, that it was over, and that the danger had passed. Up until then, I had been unaware that any other battle had taken place. No one was surprised—not even me—that so many of us had seemed to have had the same experience. Hundreds were appearing when the vision ended. It was only a few in relation to the city, but that there were hundreds, and all safe, all friendly, all knowing we belonged together—it was a moment of ease and joy.
Interesting and perhaps meaningful that I find myself on a determined mystical journey while once again living in Austin. I don't need to go underground to find the meaning. The fight has already begun: The Harrowing of Hell and the Resurrection are quite clear in the vision dream. I have also had personal experience with the corruption on both sides of the crater. I'm still standing, although I have taken blows from each side.