IN THE COMPANY OF PERFECT STRANGERS

Makris Gialos Beach, Kefalonia in October
Makris Gialos Beach, Kefalonia (in late October)
There's an unspoken understanding and a silent solidarity between people who frequent some of my favorite places on the island. For the most part, communication is carried out by glances, smiles, nods and gestures. Faces become familiar after a while and there's an inherent understanding and respect for that space that each of us is allotted for fulfilling the purpose of his visit.
A fisherman, a woman walking her dog, a couple waiting for the sunset, a jogger, an amateur photographer... each with their own agenda. Once in a while, after some familiarity is established, the nods and gestures are accompanied by a few very substantial words and suggestions: "...over those rocks you'll get a better view of the seagulls" - "if you really want to capture some big waves, you should come in the morning" or the inevitable question: "....do you ever publish these photos, is anyone interested in seeing winter images?"

I have learned so much from my "comrades in solitude." A fisherman gave me a condensed course in understanding weather so I can always choose the right place and time for perfect clouds and colorful seas. An English couple tipped me off as to the purple skies that I would have missed at Ammes Beach, had I left right after sundown. A jogger at Makris Gialos made a slight detour to leave some footprints so that my photo (above) would be less bland. Without a word, just a bow and a smile before he returned to his original path.

Thinking about this the other day, I found myself humming some lyrics from an old tune. One I haven't even heard for years but so appropriate for the situation; it really describes what all us strangers do when smiling, nodding, and gesturing to each other in places of solitude... Yes,indeed,
We fill out the missing colors 
In each other's paint-by-number dreams...*
(from Jackson Browne's "The Pretender", paraphrased a bit)

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