It is a fine day. There is a field, a country field. In the near distance, a gate.
You can go through the gate and follow the few people ahead. Look there:
more are coming to join you. In the way of these things people going in the
same direction at the same speed arrange themselves into a vague line. Only
a ragged, easy sort of line. There is no rush. You walk along together. There
appear little hedges, jolly decorative things, along the sides of your—can we
call it a path? Yes, it is a path. The hedges make things orderly. Now you can
relax. You don’t have to choose a course across the field with its hazards
you can just walk and you don’t have to think about walking. It is a fine day
and everyone in this company is in an expansive mood. You fall into
conversation—they are all so agreeable!—and from time to time you reflect
quietly on what fine people they all must be in their individual ways. But
look: the hedges have gotten taller. Now they are chest high. Now you can’t
see over them, and neither can anyone else, even the tallest of your brothers
and sisters. In fact they are not hedges but walls, concrete, with barbed wire
at the top. When did that happen? You keep walking, though your progress
on the road has slowed. There are so many of you now, compatriots
trudging along, crowded together. You begin to think about walking again.
But where are we going? You are almost too embarrassed to ask, for you
understand that you should have considered this much earlier. Finally, you
turn to ask your comrade, but he is crying and will not respond to your
questions. You hear the screams from up ahead, further than you can see,
but you can’t stop walking now. You’ve committed yourself, and besides
there are too many bodies around you, carrying you forward. You add your
voice to the screaming. It is a fine thing to sing together, is it not?