Сигурно са малко хората, които не биха разпознали фотографията на Gregory Colbert – за мен тя излъчва покой, равностоен на медитация от първия миг, в който я зърнах; поезия, без да има строфи, докосване, без физическо присъствие…
Сега, след като държа в ръцете си уникалното издание на романа Ashes and Snow, всички елементи на този великолепен замисъл (фотографии, филм, писма) застинаха в съвършено цяло, за да разкажат една необикновена сюрреална история.
To the princess of the elephants,
I disappeared exactly one year ago. On that day I received a letter. It called me back to the place where my life with the elephants began
Please forgive me, for the silence between us has been unbroken for one year.
I will never be more of myself than in these letters.
They are my maps of the bird path, and they are all that I know to be true.”
“(…) I noticed he was carrying a vase. He handed me the vase and said,
“Always remember to carry a vase in your dreams. If the stars were bright and you see a well, go to the well. Lower your vase if a constellation of stars is reflected upon the water. Make a wish just before the vase touches the water’s surface.
“Sometimes when you raise the vase it will be full, sometimes it would be empty. if the vase is full, drink deeply. If the vase is empty, drink deeper still. Therein lies the secret to being free: taste the waters of both bitterness and bliss.”
“Remember that it is not important if the vase is full or empty. What matters is that you never stop wishing, never stop dropping your vase into wells.” (…)
A pod of whales was lying like long reclining Buddhas on the sea.
My sister and I put our ears to the bottom of the boat so we could listen to their songs.
We turned to my grandfather and asked, “What do their song mean?”
“The whales do not sing because they have an answer,” he said.
“They sing because they have a song.”
I still have the first letter that you wrote to me. I carry it with me like a garden in my pocket.
If you come to me at this moment
your minutes will become hours
your hours will become days
and your days will become a lifetime.
I am never sure if I am reading the letter or the letter is reading me.”
(…) At times I have trouble writing to you. The imperfection of words leads me to take my camera on a walkabout. If someone asks me what I am photographing, I reply that I am writing a letter. (…)
What I would like to say to you is, if you could look through my heart, you would see. And with three images from my camera, I whisper Neruda’s words, “I want to do to you what spring does to cherry tree.”
An elephant with his trunk raised is a ladder to the stars.
A breaching whale is a ladder to the bottom of the sea.
My photographs are a ladder to my dreams.
These letters are ladders to you.”
(…) “After my mother shaved my head on my third birthday, I stepped into our back garden and it began to rain. I felt thousands of silk threads caressing my skin and heard the sounds of raindrops falling upon my clean-shaven head. I heard many octaves of the song of rain – rain on sand, rain on stone, rain on bird’s wings, rain on palm leaves, rain on river. The drops rolled down on my forehead , down the bridge of my nose, and onto the tip of my tongue. As I walked, the motion of my feet followed the rhythms of rain, and when I lay on the wet green grass, my head felt like a stone being cooled and polished by a river. (…)
(…) Perhaps I misunderstood the lesson that the whales and my teacher were trying to give me – that you embrace wonder, that you feel wonder without even really understanding it.
I made the same mistake with you.
I should have spent less time trying to understand you and more time simply loving your enigmas.
(…) “The quiet that hovers over the surface of the river is never as deep or as pure as the silence that is to found within it. If at the end of your life you can look back and compare the love you have had for a woman with the purity of the silence on the bottom of this river, then you will be able to say that you have lived.”
I cannot remember my father holding my mother in his arms. No matter how hard I try, I can never see that image.
He taught me many things. He taught me poetry, zoology, biology, astronomy,, and geography. He showed me many things, but he never showed me how to take the woman you love and hold her in your arms.
He never showed me how to give yourself.
All that I know of love, I learned from you.
You gave yourself.
(…) It is my last wish that you burn the three hundred and sixty-five letters, one by one by one. Do not fear that you are burning my heart down. When I first wrote the letters, I believed they would be what remained of me after my death. Now I see that what will survive of me is my love for you. What matters is not what is written on the page. What matters is what is written in the heart.
So burn the letters and lay their ashes on the snow at the rivers’ edge. When spring comes and the snow melts and the river rises, return to the banks of the river and reread my letters with eyes closed; let the words and images wash over your body like waves. Reread the letters with your hand cupped over your ear; listen to the songs of eden. Page after page after page, fly the bird path. and maybe, maybe, you will feel something like my love for you.”