i was on a road trip in south america with my mom, greg, and hannah amelia bellon. my mom had gone ahead to check out the mountainous regions of the upper highlands, while hannah, greg, and i were making a lunch rest stop along the highway.
there were many people at the rest stop, and a goodly mix of tourists and locals. there was a gift shop selling brochures and keychains. i remained interested in the products, but loved the way the light came into the space, the textures of the raw rocky walls, and the wooden furniture displayed throughout.
i had to use the bathroom, and walked up some stone steps to an open mezzanine above and behind the canteen area. instead of doors, there were heavy light blue sheets covering the entrances. i couldn't discern which side was for men or women, so i chose the left side. the presence of urinals told be i had chosen right, but i couldn’t help feeling like it was such a gamble, and why would anyone make bathrooms ungendered...unless they were both unisex.
when i was done, i exited through the back and onto a grassy terrace which rolled up into a small hill to the left, and opened up to the foot of a lakeside to the right. the reeds and grasses blazed a beautiful ruddy brown amber and the lake had such a beautiful scintillating movement almost in an otherworldly unison.
from the left, i heard a small child laughing, and turned to find a little baby, or was it a small toddler, just sitting on a camel who was traversing the path up the hill. it seemed so normal and dangerous at the same time, and i couldn’t help but smile. a few moments later, a woman, i’m guessing the child’s mother followed along slowly and smiling. she had a headdress/shawl on which flowed lovely in the gentle breeze coming off the lake.
i took out my camera and shot some photos of the two, the camel walking away, the edges of the lake, some ropes dangling from the back roof, some of the older cars crossing a stone bridge at water level. it was such a beautiful day i thought to myself.
greg had found me standing out back, and told me he was so confused about the bathrooms, the doorways, and maybe had gone into the women’s one. we made funny faces of regret at each other and then he went to browse the wares at the front.
i found hannah sitting in some wooden chairs in a stone terrace overlooking the background, and i sat down with her. we began talking about the trip, the nature of travel and how amazing the afternoon golden hour is. after sitting in that moment for a while, she got up and said we should leave to catch up with my mom.
i followed a couple beats later, still affected and in such a state of calm and joy. greg was downstairs waiting for his bag from the bag-check. i gave the woman behind the counter my card, and she gave me back my bag while muttering to herself.
it was then i realized that we were not south america, but italy! of course it made so much sense! how fun!
i looked out onto the road and felt so full of hope and exploration. the golden sun on the mountainside shaped the terrain in such a beauty of textures and long shadows. the fog/clouds at the top of the peaks loomed liked spectre-like ethereal doughnuts, and i felt a worried twinge for the safety of my mom.
the others, reinvigorated by the promise of adventures, saw this concern on my face, and we all silently met eyes, and began walking up towards the mountains.
dream a little dream of me.