A billow of thyme releases underfoot as I step out of the car, stretching my crashing xylophone nerves, the tension of le départ. As has happened on our previous escapes to the Luberon, Remi and I are somehow on the cusp of a fight over nothing, as if we were overly eager to dive into the release of les vacances. Slow down, Heather. There is nothing but a big stretch of time rolling out in front of us like a magic carpet.
The carpet of earth--pliny greens that bend, miniscule buds blossoming and twigs that crackle underfoot--pulls my focus downwards. Or maybe it was just the thyme that has whispered me in.
Regardless, every millimetre is my garden to scan and wonder, "How different" from the pavement usually shoring under my feet.
It seems to be a welcoming gift.
We turned off the road near Joucas, then on to another and finally on to a dirt path that crests on a small rise. Hidden but the same as all of the countryside around us. Nothing special and yet...
...for a moment the size of the world seems to inverse with the prickles of sensations that arise.
We flip down the back of the Range Rover to let the dogs run. I unpack the picnic quickly bought but carefully chosen and watch the small smile of approval as Remi looks over the delectables spread out on the blanket. I knew he would be pleased. We eat quietly, occasionally scolding Ben and Kipling for their insistent begging, something they would never dare do at home.
As Remi finishes his millefeuille, I pick up my camera and stray back towards the old stone wall that had initially said, "Turn Here." Scraggly vines point accusingly at a cloud cover that is trying to break but failing. I don't mind.
For I am content to be in the sous-bois, that French term that is so much lovelier than the English 'underbrush' and am reassured that no matter what lies ahead, I have already sipped my fill of beauty, pure.