Off we went. Piled up into the car to seek out a bit of lumière, the sky too blue to be ignored. The search for the new continues, it seems as natural as Spring. With a quiet buzz in our hearts we turned around the village of Roquemaure, papparazi-like, to find the secret access to what we were seeking. Across a canal, up a steep slope--et voila!--the Tour de L'Hers rose above the further banks of the Rhone, an elegant guardian. A diadem and not a crown. But the Mistral was at play, pushing the waters into waves and nearly knocking me to the ground. A force so insistent, no matter how pleasant, that I finally conceited defeat and sat on the grass, happy to be connected with something still.
A flock of migratory birds valiantly flew upstream at such a speed that my eyes, already teary from the wind, could only make them out enough to snap and they were gone. What determination. From what exotic lands where they coming from? I wished them well on the rest of their journey and thanked them, for if that isn't the official announcement of the sunny times ahead, then I don't know what is. Ben, our Golden, turned his nose upstream and followed their scent long after they had flown towards the sun.
A darker shade entirely hangs over the back-streets of Roquemaure. I am assuming that this was once a wealthy wine town, based on the architecture of the abandoned storehouses. Despite having lived in the South of France for over five years, I am still surprised when a town declines the role that is expected of it in Provence. No posturing, no postcards. I won't say that it lacked charm, for that would be far from the case. A quiet life is lead here, with old mixing into new, tv antennas attached atop medieval walls like victory flags.
Remi pointed out to me several odd niches on either side of the road, built to hold back the Rhone when it floods. Can you imagine the force and the fear when it was necessary to put all three panels in place? Of course, my thoughts and heart made an immediate detour to Japan.
Sometimes detours can be a blessing, certainly when you are not rushed and we weren't, for once. After coming to a stop at a route barrée, we followed the signs of the dérivation through the vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. That the vines themselves are clearly as pampered as babies or divas says much about its well-deserved reputation. Rocks, loam and herbs are carefully arranged under a golden sun, storing energy for the grapes that will start to push into being in several months. But even though we were tantalizing close, a wine tasting was not to be. Our detour blocked us from from the center of town, curving swiftly back towards the our side of the Rhone, towards our Alpilles.
I am crazy for the moon, would look up searching for it on all of those lonely nights in New York City when I needed a friend. Unfortunately, I have one of those personalities that are highly effected by its waxes and wanes. I have never known why. So it was with both trepidation and excitement that I announced to Remi that Saturday would bring on the giantest full moon in eighteen years--a fact that had somehow gone unremarked upon in the French press. What photographer can resist such an opportunity? Remi chose well and I was equally thrilled as he headed towards the Chapel Saint-Sixte in Eygalières. As with so many of the most amazing religious sites that we have known in Provence, the chapel was originally built around a sacred spring in Roman times, it's waters running where? To Arles.
The wind seemed to pick up speed as the evening came on, pushing my already shaky hands into a blur of images. And can you believe that the orange fire on the horizon is the moon? When it first peaked over the hill I clapped my hands and jumped up and down. I couldn't help it. It deserved the acclamations. So bright, such light, it could have been mistaken for the sun. Turning the world upside down. But since it has already been this week, perhaps it turned it the right side up again. I can only hope.