While I lay in the bed singing Christmas carols from the old songbook, Bug draws. This elaborate little world is his latest creation. He stops me before I kiss him good night so he can explain all the elements of his picture.
Conveyor belts rolling down from up in the treetops carry suitcases to the inhabitants below. The suitcases have “all the things people need, like food and hammers” for underground life. The dude on the right sitting under the tree is fishing from the subterranean spring that runs along the bottom. His catch is stored in wooden storage boxes up above, and the conveyor belts ferry fishes down when people need food.
The ladders help people and dogs and cats go up and down, too. There are also slides. The little dwelling on the bottom right is a dollhouse someone built so the kids have something to play with down there. There is a kitchen for cooking. The brown stuff is the soil, Bug explains, and tunnels through the soil are for the worms. The guy fishing uses the worms for catching fish.
The skull, bones, and wishbone in the middle of the brown patch are remains of a deer skeleton decomposing in the earth, which Bug put in to show that this whole place is “way down underground.”
You know what gets me? Every single inhabitant of this bunker is in a state of perfect bliss. The fisherman, the cats, the children: all happy. The dudes schlepping suitcases are grinning. The fish swimming in the spring and languishing in their boxes are wearing smiles. Even the dead deer is content with the situation.
Predator, prey. Worker, player. Compost, bloom. No matter where anyone lands in the tableau, happiness is an option.