Exhale/Inhale




I step out into the garden, stretch and exhale slowly in morning air that holds quiet promise of coming Autumn. In the fields around the village farmers harvest their golden prize from summer near past. I walk barefoot to the apple trees and load the feeders for the birds and luxuriate in the feel of cool grass between my toes. It reminds me that I should be dealing with the garden before we head off for a short break at the weekend, back to France and that special place that's come to mean so much to me over these last few years.


I'd wanted to go to Languedoc for years and years before I ever got there. When I did I felt immediately at home, somehow completely relaxed and at peace. Oddly, I felt unexplainably relieved just to be there. I never said anything to My Lovely G, thinking it was probably just over reaction to that getting-away-from-it-all-on-holiday feeling, yet feeling like it was more than that too.


 A few days before the holiday ended we were sitting in the 'Bar A Vin', our favourite watering hole in the ancient walled city of Carcassonne, slaking thirst and letting the heat of the day drain from us as we recovered from a day trip somewhere that had included a hill climb beyond what the overweight middle aged me was comfortable with anymore. My mind wandered over the day: rivers we drove beside, tiny villages, narrow hill roads, treacherous paths and that withering climb to a Cathar castle ruined centuries ago perched high on its crag. And yet most of all my mind pondered on how familiar it all felt. How comforting it was to push the path down beneath my feet and walk higher and higher through an environment that should have felt completely alien yet instead was the absolute opposite.



I turned to G and said, "Y'know, I don't think I've ever been somewhere I've felt more at home than here - other than actually at home. I can't explain it. I know this is the first time we've been here but I love it. I really do. I feel such a sense of peace. I've been trying to dismiss it as some kind of daft holiday nonsense but I honestly can't. I absolutely love it here."

I glanced across the table into those mesmerising eyes and found I was being examined with one of those typically concerned looks I know so well.  I braced myself for a dose of reality.

"I know. I feel it too. I can't explain it either."



Back in the now I turn from the trees and the now full bird feeders tucked amongst the apples and head back across the grass to the house. At the patio door I turn and look back at the garden for a second, stretch and slowly inhale cool morning mixed with the scent of the garden. Autumn's in the air here for sure and the days will soon be growing short. I wonder how it will have changed by the time we get back. After breakfast I'll get out and mow the lawn, weed the borders and tidy down the drive for the last time this summer. Even though we'll be gone just a week summer will have gone by the time we get back. I'll be sad to see it go but glad to be back in France again.

My laptop isn't coming this time but G is taking hers so I may get a blog or two in, especially if I get the inspiration or some good photos. I have programmed in a couple of Sunday posts anyway to keep the blog ticking over.

See you later or maybe au revoir!

Listening to:




Comments

Thanks DSL. It's from the soundtrack to the movie 'Amelie'.

I haven't forgotten the award waiting at yours. Hopefully I'll get over while on holiday and get it sorted.

Thank you.
Yamini MacLean said…
Hari OM
What a soothing and heartfelt post, Alistair. I totally understand - when a place or some land reaches out somehow whispers to the soul. It's how I landed up in OZ. How I landed up here in India. It is what is bringing me back to Scotland.

There are many places in the world which will do this - we just have to be able to 'hear the whispers'!

Have a wonderful trip. YAM xxx
coastkid said…
Lovely track Al
Paula Wooters said…
How beautiful, Alistair! May you and the Ever Lovely G enjoy another delightful holiday in Carcassonne!
Bovey Belle said…
What a wonderful feeling of belonging somewhere else. It certainly makes you wonder about past lives (an idea I quite believe in). Have a lovely holiday.
Indigo Roth said…
Oi! You wrote something. That's not right. Poetry on Sunday, see? Pffft, what a jessie.

I loved this. It's a profound feeling when it happens. I had a gentle dose of it when I visited you and G. Relaxed, comfortable, home. Thank you =)

More writing please.

Indigo
Seeing one of your essays on my 'preview' list lures me right over here. This one didn't disappoint--lovely descriptions, thoughts to ponder. I wonder: why do certain places evoke a sense of deja vu?
Eolist Petite said…
I love that feeling of belonging in a place you have never been, how amazing it must be to share that same feeling with someone else - especially the love of your life.

As always, Alistair, your words and photos make me long to check these places out myself. :)

Rebecca S. said…
Ahhh...very nice. You shared your sense of peacefulness with me, too. Careful, or like Peter Mayle, you may find yourself relocating and writing a book about it!
Oh what a nice bunch of homo-sapiens you lot are! Thanks for those lovely comments folks.

Just arrived back and got to pottering around in this internet thingy again, {The house in France doesn't have t'internet. Don't know for the life of me why I was convinced it did!}

It also seems that I can't post when I say I will hence no post last week. I promise I'll get one sorted this evening for today

OOPS! - Must dash, dinner's in the oven and guess who forgot about it!!!!

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