The Cloud Factory

I was in a dense forest, a pine forest. I was trying to walk, but the branches were too thick, and kept scratching my arms and face, and knocking my glasses off. Finally, exhausted, I came to a clearing, a green meadow. I was sweating and tired, so I lay down on my back in relief and gazed up at the sky above the forest. The sky was blue, but soon these large white cotton clouds started to drift in, quite high up. And then I somehow realized that they were not clouds, but actually thick, steamy smoke, like the kind you see in images of nuclear reactors. I sat up and looked around and saw that the smoke was pouring out of the chimneys of this enormous factory or industrial plant of some kind. There were huge piles of chopped lumber everywhere. It was as if the goal of the factory was not to turn the wood into anything except these huge clouds of steam/smoke – it was a kind of cloud factory. The sight of this factory made me strangely nervous for some reason, but I began to move closer to it, and as I did so I could see trucks and forklifts and machines going back and forth, moving the huge piles of wood around. But at the same time it somehow dawned on me that this was actually just an elaborate front, that all this effort was to disguise what was really going on here. It isn’t easy to explain. But when I came to realize what they were actually doing, it terrified me so much that I woke up.

(Paul included the text above with the object. It describes the dream he had, which the scrimshaw illustrates. For more details about Paul, these objects, and how they ended up with me, click here!)