Candlelight and hot tea, the sound of Friday traffic in the streets and the weak northern sun slips sickly away. I burn my fingers on a blackened match, my pictures softening and twinkling with the light as I wait for people to push the swollen door of the gallery. Rouse me with the jangling bell and wander into my warm world filled with a shoal of bright photos wrenched from hard places. Of course, they cycle past …and it’s fine. I wonder at the motives for baring my soul in a street with no passing trade? But then, in this warm room I know that I’m safe – observed from the corner of a public eye but free to grow, to exhibit undisturbed.
I’ve had dreams of swimming underwater. Sleek and with no arm movement, just strong legs working an invisible mermaid tail. Travelling fast through a smeared palette of greens and blues towards the indigo surface. But not yet, not yet breaking the surface. This place nourishes me still.
An older Canadian Heather sits tapping away at her desk in the adjoining room. I ask her permission to photograph her beautiful hands hovering over the grimy keyboard. She prepares lunch, and offers me small morsels of her past sprinkled with the condensed flavour of a poet.
To be continued.
The door bell jangles…