'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir

I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Slow France

‘I have travelled the world, seen sights, met fascinating people, but only when I returned home did I become aware of the beauty on my own doorstep.’  Rabindrath Tagore

Sometimes it takes going away to make you appreciate where you live even more.  

And you can still be SLOW...

We are just home from France. We hadn’t planned to go. We were in the campervan, not too far from home, pedalling along the Mawddach Trail, the most beautiful cycle path in Wales, sneaking up on quiet herons, stopping to watch great crested grebes with their Everton toffee chicks.  A day or two later we trundled off to Hay on Wye to wander among musty books and lemon-drizzly-tea-shops.
Then the van just seemed to want to keep going south. So we stopped in a layby, booked a ferry from Dover, slept on the prom and next day we were in France.

I continued with the Wildlife Trusts #30 Days Wild Challenge (to do something wild each day in June) while we were away.  There are birds in France I don't hear in Wales, a nightingale sang in the Somme, turtle doves purred in the poplar trees of Champagne and a beaver nibbled reeds in a quiet corner of the largest lake in France (Lac du Der, south of Reims).

Being A Slow Tourist

We felt a gentle pull to the West and found ourselves in Normandy.  On the beach at Dives Sur Mer, from where a certain William the Conqueror set sail in 1066, I made patterns with shells on the beach.  I left them for the tide to play with and went for a long walk under a 'Monet sky' (The Impressionists were inspired by the wide skies and alabaster cliffs of this coast, we followed their Trail over the next few days).

When I came back, a little French girl in a turquoise swimsuit was busy adding to my display, a beautiful fish, more flowers and abstract patterns.  She was lost in her creativity. Maybe I had inspired her. Maybe she will be an artist one day, or maybe she just had a real fun SLOW day on the beach?
Fish added by little girl

Back home, the garden welcomed us with a couple of pints of strawberries, a bundle of rhubarb sticks and some curly kale.  I walked around with my cup of tea, dead-heading, pulling berries, inhaling the vanilla scent of clematis and apologising to my birds for being away. Slowly, they returned to the feeders and pecked at my apple offerings. 
The blackbird meanwhile, had discovered a corner of the bed where the strawberry net hadn't reached and was brazenly helping himself.  I let him go for it, enjoying seeing the strawberry colour smeared on his yellow beak.
It's nice to be home.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. Pretty slow here too. Mooching around mountains and playing with pebbles on beaches.