Looking for an apparently non-existant office supplies outlet in the lunchtime rush-hour is a surreal moment when there’s a visa application to complete. It was already ten past noon and I still needed more documents downloaded and copied. The shop was no-where in sight so I needed to find my bank. It was blocks away but at least certain to deliver what I needed. The visa officer had kindly frozen my paperwork until 12.20 when the office would close. I couldn’t freeze now, this was my last chance to complete the task or wait for another month until the next available appointment. Adrenalin kicked in.
It was 12.18 when I slid the documents under the plate glass window. The officer smiled at my dishevelled appearance and added the papers to the pile. I’m still not sure how I managed to run those city blocks, get my statements printed, stamped and signed before reaching the office two minutes before closing time. Note to self: climbing the bureaucracy tree was a high but really, I’d rather be in a forest.
My resolve didn’t waver. I want to get back to Europe, in spite of the ocean paradise I’ll leave behind in Australia.
It was now 11.55am and the consulat general’s office closed at 12.20. I wasn’t about to wait another month for a new appointment so I firmly grasped the paperwork and rushed out the door with directions to find a Justice of the Peace and an office supply outlet. The elevator plummeted 26 floors to ground zero.
By the time I reached the pharmacy, it was was close to 12 noon. This lead turned out to be futile but the woman kindly suggested that I might find a JP in the tall building with the revolving doors. So I retraced my steps. I found a chartered accountant on the fifteenth floor. He was busy but I wasn’t deterred. Pleading has it’s place. By 12.05 I was out of there and hit the pavement running. I still needed updated bank statements. I had fifteen minutes left.
One drip at a time. Will it all fall into place?
I am the muse, the photographer.and the scribe.
Which came first? A reasonable question.
The answer remains mysterious.
Ethereal as the twisted trees in a silent forest.
Shadowy as a room painted with sunlight.
Fluid as a heartbeat felt beneath my naked breast.
I’ve been working on this project for a couple of years now and excited about it’s birth into the world!
She leaned toward,
Not knowing if the shoulder
Was strong enough.
She held herself,
Knowing that she was.
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.