Refugi307 » Refugi307

Bricks above ground are usually smooth and bright, but these bricks in Museu Refugi 307, a bomb shelter in Barcelona, are pale and crumbling. On a microscopic level, the air has been expelled from the 192 bombing raids by Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. It was a haunting experience to visit this space during my class trip to Barcelona. In a way, slowly walking through the moist and dimly lit tunnels was more sacred than entering the grand cathedrals above. This miserable setting was stripped of ornament and existed only for most essential needs: to live, escape death, and find safety in each other.

Entering this shelter reminded me of the sanctuaries that can be found in even the darkest of times and places. No matter how much evil exists around us, pelting trials and horrors in our path of life, we have the divine as our protective shield, like this brick haven. This shield is bound by trust, an invisible force, just like I can’t see the air bubbles in the brick. However, it is in the everyday signs of that bond that I find refuge. There are times when I see the air expelled for a moment, when unfamiliar loving voices comfort a mourning family, or even in the chance appearance of rainbows on a trying day. Refugi 307 reminded me that there is life and love even when times seem hopeless, and that gives me courage.
Jessica Firing