Thursday, July 24, 2008
Half a world away
I took this photo almost six years ago on the Greek island of Ios. It's not your typical travel shot, but I love it. It perfectly captures the mood of our existence in that moment. I remember we were enjoying a bit of respite from the clumsiness of navigating our way through crowds on train platforms, from faulty phone cards, from blistered feet. All five of us with nothing better to do than read, rest, write, think. It was quiet.
Danielle was in and out of a nap, Steph was stretching. I was casually wondering how I was going to get the bag of laundry back that I'd forgotten on Naxos. There was mention of when and where we'd replenish our bottled water supply. Oh and there was a cat, poor thing (was it three-legged?... or one-eyed?...), who followed us back to our dwelling on a previous outing and waited outside our door for whatever edible offerings we tossed its way.
And there was Joey, a stray dog who was adored by travellers (and therefore travellers were wholeheartedly adored back) and really should have come home with us to Canada. When we left Ios he tried to get on the ferry with us and, heartsick, we watched him nervously pacing the dock while the boat pulled away. I still have his photo pinned to the cork board next to my desk at work. I hope that he has a family now and that his stomach is full.
Another reason I love this photo is that I remember what is beyond the limits of its frame. Everytime I look at it, I also see the rest of the room and the vistas beyond it. If the shot was just a little wider, you'd see that to Roxanne's right is a door opened onto a balcony overlooking a ragged, other-worldly landscape cluttered with white-washed domes, seen in miniature from our vantage point high above the waters of the Aegean Sea. There's a little palm tree silhouetted by a hazy October sunset, and a gradation of land masses fading, fading, fading into the distance.
Some things are clearer when left to memory, floating on the fringe.