Abandoned before or after it was inhabited, Armilla cannot be called deserted. At any hour, raising your eyes among the pipes, you are likely to glimpse a young woman, or many young women, slender, not tall of stature, luxuriating in the bathtubs or arching their backs under the showers suspended in the void, washing or drying or perfuming themselves, or combing their long hair at a mirror. In the sun, the threads of water fanning from the showers glisten, the jets of the taps, the spurts, the splashes, the sponges’ suds.
A naiad rises from a bathing pool, glistening with water droplets. Her dusky eyes sweep the scene, dazzled by the ever-changing water surfaces all around. She leaps effortlessly across a steep drop from the pool to a small shower platform. A cascade of drops fall to the dry earth far below.
She eases her way through another fluid curtain, light and water intermingling in the blinding heights. She sees a walkway up ahead cast in bright sun and walks along it. Her skin dries slightly as she moves forward toward a wide, cool chamber. As she enters, directly ahead of her she sees that one entire wall of the chamber is made of yet another curtain of water. This one is much stronger and heavier than the others she’s seen before. It is clear that one step into the font would carry her over the edge, so she instead walks up to it and then veers along just behind it.
The water is so torrential that it largely obscures the bright sunlight to which she and her sisters are accustomed. As she walks along the water wall it gives way here and there to streams of bright, warming light. The interplay between the stretches of cool shade and the extravagant warmth and brightness of the light channels is refreshing and sensual after so much time spent among the glare and vibrance of the waters of Armilla. Our naiad knows that when she needs a respite she’ll return to the chamber once more and luxuriate in the cooling, calming shadows cast by the wall of water.