I meet the goat-man on the first night I arrive. Shadows are dancing on the sleeping plane trees. He sits on a log and hugs his legs close to his lean body. His face is in darkness. Mine is flushed from the heat of the fire and my enthusiasm for cracking sticks to fuel the flames. The goat-man is impressed by my bush skills.
The next morning, he is outside my tent. I know this wild goat-man speaks no English. He points to the goddess slopes rising into the clouds and smiles. This is paradise: of course I want to explore more. I remove my sandals, they are useless on this terrain. I leap barefoot over the shards of igneous rock with grace but not with the speed of the agile man ahead. The mountain is in his blood. There is no path, but I remember the scuffed rocks and the landmarks behind me.
We pass a gate, climb higher, and settle at the edge of a cliff. Beyond is the ultramarine sea. I am caught between this breath-taking view and the man behind me. He is close and I can tell that he has not been with a women for some time. I am ready for a love affair but this is not it. My Greek extends to good morning, yes and no, three more words than the goat-man’s vocabulary in my native tongue. I point to my sex, then his, and cross my arms. In Greek I declare O’hi! Even if I say no with a bad accent, I consider this to be a clear message. It is not.
Early the following morning, the goat-man returns to my solo camp in the forest. I am caught by surprise, once again, and quickly wrap a scarf around my nakedness. He grins and throws his torso onto my sleeping mat. This is not going to be simple. Miming produces smiles and my phrasebook is useless. I try No, thank you, I’d rather not, leave me alone. My uninvited visitor looks confused. I want to laugh. I laugh! I know that I shouldn’t but he is innocent, confused, hopeful, stubborn. I am out of my culture, out of my depth, out of words and completely uncertain how I can regain my solitude.