As I lay upon the mountain

As I lay upon the mountain watching the goats eating the last Autumn leaves I begin to understand why Teresa wouldn't trade this view for any of the modern comforts of today's world.

Come to my house next week, I have something to teach you. This she told me in a clear spring night dream during my first visit to the mountains. Intrigued by the oneiric invitation from a stranger, I returned and eventually found her picking wild asparagus on the bedside of a small river. That afternoon I did the first of many visits to Malga Pausa, Teresa's home and world, where together with a friendship grew a photographic project about this fascinating forty year-old American woman who was living alone with her animals in a remote pasture house in the Italian Alps.

In a summer afternoon Teresa asked me whether I could take her place while she would visit her family in the U.S., and in a cloudless winter day I arrived in Malga Pausa to look after her eighteen goats, two horses, two dogs and three cats. As Teresa left and her responsibilities became my own I often found myself repeating her familiar gestures and words. Being in my subject's shoes brought new colours to the scenery I had photographed so many times before - see the project "From boats to goats”.

As I lay upon the mountain I don't feel it like such an extreme choice anymore. I don't miss any of the modern comforts of today's world. As I lay upon the mountain I realise I am closer to peace than poems.

[several references to the words of Leonard Cohen from the book "Stranger Music", ed. Jonathan Cape London, 1993]

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