I had a dream last night and it went like this.
I opened my eyes and met hers. She was looking at me with piercing blue like a frost-covered morning on a bright day. I smiled. She turned her face away, as if not wanting to be there.
I was aware of the best sleep I had in ages and also knew that I travelled a long distance to be here in this place, with her.
A white linen dress clang to her slender body and she moved as lightly as a ghost would sliding from one room to another. I followed her and came into a room full of people and noise. They seemed to have been preparing for some kind of expedition. She asked me to join them, which took me by surprise and I felt a sharp sensation deep within that screamed, “Why would I go anywhere else when there is all this, here, with her?” I looked out of the window. We were in some kind of cabin, which was spacious with many rooms and I felt the warmth of the fire coming from next door. “Where is everyone going?” I said to her, as she approached me by the window. “Paris,” she said lowering her head to the ground again. She was hiding something. She didn’t look displeased dealing with the visitors to what I knew was her house, but she felt detached, not all present. “No Paris, I said. Not for me”. Groups of people crowded outside waiting for transport. They seemed impatient to get out of the place, but why would they come in the first place, I wondered. She looked over in their direction with some relief, I thought. Her body displayed anxiety and I saw an emerging smile at the prospect of them leaving.
I began to cry sitting by the window looking outside on to a wintery wilderness. A frozen lake, deep, luscious snow and tree tops in crowns of white. My heart was exploding recognising the wild within. She looked bewildered at me as if not letting herself remember or believing my feelings.
“Why all these people? What happened to your homestead? I remember it being just you here.”
She looked at me with the saddest eyes, but averted it quickly not wanting to show emotion.
“We are showing people the last wilderness.”
I knew she didn’t want to, she was forced into it. I grabbed her hand trying to show her I understood and asked if we could go outside. She didn’t move away from me and said, “Later.”
When crowds dispersed I was glad of some silence and empty places I could go and check. The rooms in the house were furnished with simple furniture, but very old. Figurines and wooden carved animals were on shelves and by bedsides. Everything was basic. I remember hearing complaints earlier from the crowd of girls, “How are we supposed to cope with these facilities. There isn’t even a toilet and we have to sleep on the floor. Did you see what we had to eat?” Dissatisfied voices echoed in me and I realised that this is the future of the wilderness tourism; people coming to see the most remote, wild places, yet wanting to be away from it from the moment they arrived. The sadness in my hostess filled me up and I went to look for her. She was already outside clearing some snow and I could see the black earth underneath. I bent down and scooped some icy blackness bringing it to my nose to smell. She smiled slightly at me and carried on in her own now lost world, in a place no longer hers.