Plate 02, 27x18
This photo was taken on my 1983 trek in Bhutan. This small kingdom is removed from our world but beautiful in its natural charm, a wilderness in which a people have blended into the environment, built, altered and amended it in a way that nature was proud to accommodate. The elderly woman in this photo built a very small fire in a corner area of the shrine, either for warmth or as part of the ritual. The shrine was just alongside a path that I also used, so we saw each other a number of times. She was old, a mass of loose wrinkled skin. Her clothes were old and tired. God may have come and gone, yet she waited and waited.
As we met, I spent a little more time each visit - I on the outside, she wedged in near to the stove, covered in suet. Somehow from her features it was not hard to divine the beauty that might have been hers at a younger age, before the harshness of beautiful Bhutan caused wrinkles, stole the exactitude of sight, took away the energy and left her only the promise of salvation, wherever and whenever she arrived at it. I remember her, as I believe you might also, a beautiful young woman from another day, dreaming.