From Toulouse to Gaillic: Graffiti decorated station buildings, small maintenance boxes and animal sheds strewn in the fields we slowly pass, stamped with the mark of ‘I was here’ in street art language.
A well outside a front door of a small home dwelling. Shuttered properties that lead to my perennial fascination with where everyone is in France. Towns we stop at so quiet and boarded up, it’s like everyone’s left for the day, or perhaps longer if no glow is to be seen coming from doorways and windows that night.
Corn has been harvested from by now dry golden stalks. Sunflower heads drop in the subdued blue of a sky that says September, not summer.
And the leaves. The leaves on trees in the Tarn. Just October, they’re greeny golden, a slow metamorphosis into the blazing oranges and reds they’ll become by the end of the month.
Movement inspires me to write, the static feeling of sitting in the same place for too long overtaken by the desire to express oneself on a train that leisurely chugs through small town France.
My ride picks up, speeding over level crossings and a bridge under which water flows bluey green; the combination of those two colours the source of so much that is good for one’s soul. Branches sweep the window as we approach the final destination.
The following morning I sit at the round chequered-cloth-clad table gazing out through mosquito netted windows at rolling vines and a steady soft rain falling. I take a sip of tea.
“Now I forget where I was.. I seem to have gone off at a tangent.” I say to Oncle.
“What do you mean a tangent!” he exclaims. “More like a mammoth detour! Here, let’s get a piece of paper so we can note what the original topic is, then we’ll know what to come back to.”
We giggle, as we do, on the first day of a few; quiet times of snoozing, reading, delicate meals followed by pieces of dark chocolate and tisanes to encourage calm. Trips to small villages where no one stirs; coffees taken in the local poplar-lined town square as the world goes by.
At the top of a hill we take a view, no less than a virtual 360 degree one. Midnight blue clouds rest over high hills that mirror their colour to one side. On the other, towards the horizon the sun streams through white and fluffy nimbus; chasing the rain away, reminding them she will always take her turn to shine.