A scream in the tohu bohu: “SALAM” says Ape just loud enough to cover the noise of the machinery surrounding us. The scrubbers are not far with high pressure water hoses, brushes, full cover jumpsuits, goggles and helmets. The floor and the walls beyond the rusted doors is covered with excrements.
Ape works alone in a dark dead end not too far from the dirty bunch. He has to build supporting walls and a concrete platform to hold a chemical anti-bacterial tank. I want to help, but I know I have to keep my useless wonder hands away. I draw, take pictures and explore carefully my surroundings.
A steep tunnel leads to a source of light above. The slope is wet, what a strange rabbit hole! Am I that deep in?
Climbing the tunnel, I face the sky beyond a caged ceiling. On my left a midget silver door leads to the ocean…another Safe Heaven. While behind me I have the smell of chlorine, in front it is the salty air of the ocean. Ape has opened the door and I escape for a brief moment into paradise.
When I return Ape is back at work, and I get lost in watching him. He has precise gestures and his tools are seasons but good quality:
An old fashion raw metal bucket, measuring tools, trowel, shovel, wheel barrel…neatly organized in a fan pattern around him, ready to be used as an extension of his arms in a precisely choreographed task. Effort and humidity makes him sweat profusely so he has to stop once in a while to wipe his eyes, rinse his hands and hair.
I can only admire his strength and just who he is: the son of freedom in a rabbit hole with a useless Alice. I surprise myself still believing in Wonderland because when he raises his face towards me, the grey of his eyes feeds my imagination of pure wilderness. It is Safe Haven.