Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Behind the Chateau de Barbegal




It was a hazy morning and the heat took us by surprise. And yet the ground had not yet dried. An oily mud clung to our boots and the brambles of barren blackberry bushes pulled at our jacket sleeves. It wasn't magic, it was slightly oppressive. But it was where we needed to be.

As the extremely dangerous chenille processionnaire are out, we can't take risks with the dogs and so brought them to the path behind the Chateau de Barbegal as it is a relatively pine-tree free one, which means less potential for trouble. Remi and I both love to let them run ahead, to forget their small town limitations for a bit. It does us the same good. 

That change of view, that infusion of emerald rice stalks cut through an inner and outer fog. At last the path widened and the remains of the Roman aqueduct rose up to our left. Shaking stones of nothing than nothing of the all importance it once was. But more of that another time.

I struggled to keep my footing in the uneven terrain and looked down to do so. And there I found, as I always do, the Alpilles that fascinates me the most. The texture and just so juxtapositions that draw me in until I forget about my buzzing numbness, tired cobwebs or questions.

These messages. My messages. I remember them and count them off like beads on a rosary or a mala.

These old stones underfoot, they have been here so much longer than I have. So keep following the path...













...keep following a path.


39 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Merci, Joan. So happy each time I see that smiling photo of you!

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  2. Leslie in Portland, OregonMarch 14, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Beautiful and inspiring images and words, a gift to all of us which no one creates or offers like you do, Heather. "Thank you" does not even begin to express my appreciation.

    I have not before encountered chenille processionnaire, even in the pine forests of eastern Oregon. How long are they in their most dangerous stage each year? How smart of you to know how to keep your redheaded self and your Golden Retrievers, with your particularly sensitive skins, away from those critters! Bisous, Leslie

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    1. Leslie, you are so wonderful. Thank you, friend.

      And these chenilles are really, really dangerous. A dog can die if they eat one, go blind from touching one. And yes, the poisons are toxic for us too. It really doesn't pay to be too careful. I just saw Claire, my vet and friend, who said that they are especially present this year. Hopefully the worst of it will be over by mid-April.

      Be glad that you don't have them in Oregon!!

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  3. Lovely words, lovely photos. Thank you.

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  4. Another wonderful adventure - thanks for letting us join you.

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  5. Thank you Heather...( what a lovely and fitting name...) I love the sign posts...as if someone...long ago..took a pencil perhaps and faintly wrote directions pointing to another strange and beautiful turn in the road...
    One could take anyone of them...and discover new and treasured wonders...just as you have.

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    1. I love that joyful17, it is so true! We are really fortunate to be smack dab amidst some of the most important hiking trails in Southern France. And I really agree that any one of them would yield up something great. :)

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  6. Your journeys give me much pleasure. Bisous

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  7. Beautiful...We have the dreaded chenille processionnaire here in the Pyrenees, they are horrid!
    XXX

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    1. Eeee!!! You do?! I thought they were a Provencal thing. I almost had a heart attack when we came across a big long line of them two weeks ago--I was shaking with fear for the dogs!!!

      Keep Crusoe safe please...

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  8. I'll admit I didn't know what chenille processionnaire was so I went and looked it up. Smart keeping the boys away from them don't want them to get stung. Looks like a wonderful path ahead though and I hope you all enjoyed your journey.

    XXX
    Debra~

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    1. Thanks so much Debra. They really are crazy dangerous--be so glad that you don't have them!!! You wouldn't want DD to go looking for a snack...!!!!!
      Bisous!

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  9. The wooden signposts remind me of the many walks I used to take with my dogs in the Alpilles and the trees lining up on the horizon of my husband, The Artist's water colour paintings of the area....

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    1. Oh my gosh, you are right, Angela! That photo completely looks like a simplified version of one of your Husband's paintings!!

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  10. it's soooo lovely to see the world through your eyes <3
    last time you had the blue/airy theme.
    this time it's the green/woody one.
    j'adore!
    x j.

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    Replies
    1. Tant mieux! :) And I have to try and make the most of all of this color before summer comes and burns everything white. Travel safely pretty one...

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  11. One fears the dreaded caterpillars. Very lovely and graceful photos and prose.

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    Replies
    1. I'll take that compliment from you and put it in my inside pocket. Thank you...

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  12. How lovely Heather. I love your little discoveries, the Roman stones, the empty path. It feels good to run free sometimes. The wind is roaring over here tonight. Winter is having one final fling. And I shall sleep so tight hearing the voice of the mighty mistral :)

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    1. Ooh, it is blowing here too Loree! It is dangerously strong along the Rhone--up to 130 km/hr!!!! Stay warm ma belle...

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  13. Absolutely gorgeous imagery, Heather. It's like you walk through the world with your entire heart an open eye. In particular, I truly love this:

    'My messages. I remember them and count them off like beads on a rosary'

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    Replies
    1. Merci dear Suze, that was the key to me, that phrase. I need to tell myself it is ok to repeat these reminders because I need them!

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  14. Sigh...this is why I love your blog Heather. You take a day out and make it magical. I am taking a little blog course, to revive the blogging senses...I have to consider my favourite blogs and why. Yours came to mind right away. I love the homespun nature of your stories, the depth and focus of your lens and most of all the endearing person behind the blog. You can put all the latest and greatest blogs aside..that is not why I read or write..it is because of this. Thank you, I think I just answered the question in this comment..I just love it when that happens! You are a star! xx

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    1. Chere Jeanne, your response was the first thing that I saw this morning in my inbox and to say that it made my day, my week, wouldn't even begin to cover the happiness that you gave me in your kindness. I know that I will come back to this when I need encouragement to keep going. With much love and gratitude,
      Namaste.

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  15. these images are stunning. thank you.

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  16. ah! those trees standing like a sentry on watch at the gates of a glorious long drive to the chateau.

    quelle belle.

    *wavingfromFREEZINGbrooklyn*

    _tg xx

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    1. Oooh, methinks you would rather like the chateau. There has to be at least ONE chandelier in there I would think.

      Stay warm and travel safely home to LA!!!

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  17. There is beauty in your photographs, and poetry in your prose. Your awareness and appreciation of the world around you, plus your way with words, would make you a natural for writing haiku. You should join Suze's challenge next week. It isn't something I'd ever done before, but I'm having fun with it. I think you would, too.

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    Replies
    1. Bok! Bok! (Specifically the sound of the old M&Ms commercial "Thank you Easter Bunny, bok bok!") I am a chicken. I believe. But if I can do it without being a chicken, I will. And thank you so much, Susan for what you had to say.
      Have a wonderful weekend.

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  18. Heather, Your words are gorgeous as are your images. The textures! Worn wood, old stone, the tranquility that comes from what has always been and always will be - contrasted with our momentary worries and skirmishes.

    How many of us could use a small dose now and then, to remind us what really matters, and to appreciate it when we have it?

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    Replies
    1. Dear D--you put it far better than I ever could have!

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  19. I love seeing the detail through your eyes, I am finding my senses overloaded here in Italy and love the texture of the mountains and the people who live this wild life. We bought the house in the old borgata and go today to walk the boundaries with the last owner. Exciting, ciao lisa x

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    1. I am so thrilled for you Lisa!!! Onwards and upwards and I will be with you as you go!
      Gros bisous,
      Heather

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