Sunday, August 4, 2013

Getting to Work (soon)

Day Four is coming to a close (though it's only been my third full day here) and, aside from a few sort of sloppy poems written yesterday, I haven't done much yet in the way of being productive. However, the Quiet Hours signs do say that we have Saturdays and Sundays "off," so that's what I considered it. I've taken a couple of walks since our brief tour of the village on Friday morning; there are so many winding roads and trails that make it seem as though it'd be easy to get lost, but really most of them only lead one place, and so you can just turn around and go back where you came from. I just can't get over the beauty and the peacefulness of it all. The plants are different; there are wild flowers and butterflies everywhere. Yesterday morning I leaned out my window and watched a hummingbird feasting on a flowering bush outside. And the weather has been absolutely perfect, with lots of sun and highs ranging in the 80's and the lows in the mid to upper 60's (though we've got some rain in the forecast in the next few days -- I'm actually looking forward to that).

I've spent a fair bit of time in conversation with my fellow retreaters, too -- there are seven of us staying in the Inn currently, and our schedules all seem to cross paths at different times, but I usually run into someone during each meal, and it's happened that most of us have eaten dinner together (or at least a glass of wine) each night thus far. I really, really enjoy the process of getting to know people from other parts of the world, even if their daily life isn't all that different from mine in the U.S. (or even if they're just from other parts of the U.S.).  It seems that the kind of people who sign up for this retreat are the types who live very rich lives (and I hope the same applies to me, though I feel like I'm just getting started).

One good conversation I had was because I started reading a book today called Sarah's Key -- there's a synopsis on this Amazon page but basically it takes place in two different time periods in France, the earlier being 1942 and the "Vel' d'Hiv'," or the round-up of much of the Jewish population in occupied northern France (the second timeline is a journalist revisiting the event 60 years later). The Frenchman who is also staying here at the Inn (I don't know if I should call him "the Frenchman," since he's lived in England for several years now) noticed me reading the book and asked about it later on, so I told him the premise and asked him about the actual Vel'd'Hiv' (which I hadn't even known about before starting the book). He told me how the whole situation had been kind of unspoken of for many years, in part because those involved had agreed to keep quiet but also because the country was ashamed of their role in it. He also told me more about the historic event and the Resistance movement in Southern France particularly; apparently there's a trail near the Inn called the Resistance Trail (well, except in French) and that there's a monument along the way where a battle between the Germans and the French Resistance took place. It was interesting for me to realize that I was on ground where WWII was actually fought. It definitely adds a richness to the experience of reading the book (and now I want to find the trail).

I have found and wandered a few other trails (though for the life of me I can't seem to find the one that takes me down to the river) which passed by/over little streams and what are becoming waterfalls. I also got a few pictures of the village on Friday night, on our way to and from a clarinet concert at the village church (which was apparently quite the affair -- the whole sanctuary was full. The four musicians were quite good though, and I don't even especially care for the clarinet).

Walking away from La Muse (though the road leads to it)

Inside the church where the concert took place.

One of the gorgeous views down into the valley from another section of the village.

This is, for sake of ease in explaining, roughly the building next door to La Muse.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful pictures. It all sounds so peaceful, pleasant and inspiring. I am so jealous!! Lots of inspiration to write and dream. Be safe. I love you.