What I saw
I arrived on a Sunday in the lashing rain. Late afternoon. I found my way. The next day was a Monday but already during that day the Monday disappeared. Tuesday didn’t exist. The night was the night though. Without any name, without any colour. Without any awareness. I lost myself in sleep.
I counted sunsets from that moment on. There would be seven. There were, although I didn’t see them. The trees were hiding it. The sky was covered with clouds every morning.
I observed my new horizon. The line between grass and tree trunks. I saw the leaves move in the wind, I heard the birds. The ants walking up and down on the border between inside and outside. The path my feet had created in the field. The memory of my first arrival. The green that turned grey at night, the blue that turned black.
I resisted the urge to take my camera. I waited. I tried to see everything but everything kept changing. I tried to name what I didn’t see, what wasn’t there, hoping the awareness of the absence of cars, houses, streets, people, the awareness of the absence of everything that belonged to the city, would make me see it better. It didn’t though. Of course it doesn’t. You can only see things when you forget about what isn’t there. When you remember the proper words you learned to make the world visible, tangible.
I resisted the urge to write them down. I waited. I tried to name everything but the words kept changing. A tree isn’t a tree. We only call it a tree. Tree is a word. I didn’t see anything.
On the third day I took out my camera. An old sx-70. A Polaroid camera. It never captures what I see. I have to use all my senses to know what is the right moment to push the button. I wanted to capture the secret and I had thought of a way to do it but before using the fade-to-black film I had brought, the faulty instant film that never stopped developing and turned slowly black after a short glorious moment when the image showed me what I had seen, heard, felt, before photographing the secret of the location, I wanted some permanent proof of this house that was my home now.
There was still some proper film in the camera. I aimed at my shelter, I pushed the button and when nothing happened and just when I turned the camera around to see what was wrong, the image came out. It showed the ground in front of my feet. It showed the moment I hadn’t been looking.
I aimed at the house again. This time it worked. I pushed and heard the mechanics inside the camera. The image came out but it didn’t show the house. The chemicals that are spread out over the light sensitive material when it goes through the two metal rollers had only covered one corner. It showed two tree trunks on the floor, shaping a cross, as if to say “here it is”.
There was no film left in the camera. I put the fade-to-black film cartridge in and pushed the button. Three minutes later I held a perfect image of the Refugio in my hand. Three days later it only existed in my memory.